Russia invades Ukraine updates: Civilian targets hit as Russian forces near Kyiv

Russia invades Ukraine updates: Civilian targets hit as Russian forces near Kyiv
As Russia's invasion of Ukraine enters its third week, reports on Friday indicate that Moscow is pushing its offensive westward.
14 min read
11 March, 2022

On Friday, Russian strikes hit civilian targets in central Ukraine's Dnipro city, as Moscow's troops edged closer to Kyiv, where officials said the capital was being transformed into a "fortress".

Hundreds of thousands of civilians remained trapped and under fire in Ukrainian cities, including besieged Mariupol, after the first talks between Moscow and Kyiv's top diplomats ended on Thursday without any progress.

More civilian evacuations are expected today, although humanitarian corridors across Ukraine have previously broken down.

So far, 2.5 million people have been forced to flee the country while others try to seek refuge in basements, subway stations and underground shelters.

Given the speed of developments, The New Arab is providing live updates of what's been happening on the ground and additional analysis on the conflict's significance. 

Follow Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more updates. 

5:53 PM
The New Arab Staff

The New Arab concludes its live coverage of the latest updates from the Russian invasion of Ukraine for today. 

Here were the key developments: 

Russia bans Instagram

Russia has restricted access to Instagram, one of the most popular platforms there, claiming it is carrying content urging people to attack its armed forces. 


Aid convoy attacked

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyysays said trucks carrying food and medicine to the besieged port of Mariupol in the south - without water and power for 11 days - were attacked by Russian tanks.

Russia encircling Kyiv 

The capital Kyiv is at risk of being surrounded, with Russian tanks moving in on areas north and west of the capital, according to the Ukrainian military. 

Dnipro hit by airstrikes  

An apartment block and shoe factory were hit in the first air strikes on the central city of Dnipro - until now seen as a safe haven - with a kindergarten also damaged.

Putin slammed for 'hiring' Syria fighters 

The Kremlin said Syrian fighters can fight for Russia in Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin backed plans to draft in 16,000 volunteers, mostly from the Middle East.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Moscow of hiring "murderers" from a country they have destroyed, "like they are doing here to us".

Join us tomorrow for more on the latest news and analysis on Russia's war on Ukraine.

Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for more.

5:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

EU unveils fourth set of sanctions against Russia

The European Union will suspend Moscow's privileged trade and economic treatment, crack down on its use of crypto-assets and ban exports to Russia of EU luxury goods and import of iron and steel goods, the head of the European Commission has said.

The new measures amount to a fourth set of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, coordinated with the United States and other G7 allies.

"Tomorrow, we will take a fourth package of measures to further isolate Russia and drain the resources it uses to finance this barbaric war," Ursula von der Leyen said.

Along with other western allies, such as the United States, the bloc will revoke Russia's "most-favoured nation" trade status.

This would open the door to the bloc banning or imposing punitive tariffs on Russian goods and putting Russia on a par with North Korea or Iran.

5:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine warns of possible Belarusian invasion plan

Ukraine's state Centre for Strategic Communications said it could not rule that Belarus would launch an invasion of Ukraine today after a meeting in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

"According to preliminary data, Belarusian troops may be drawn into an invasion on March 11 at 21:00 (1900 GMT)," the centre, which was established under the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy, said in a statement.

4:55 PM
The New Arab

Russia widens social media crackdown by blocking Instagram

Russian regulators said today that internet users will be blocked from accessing Instagram because it's being used to call for violence against Russian soldiers.

The communications and media regulator, Roskomnadzor, said in a statement that it's restricting national access to Instagram because the platform is spreading "calls to commit violent acts against Russian citizens, including military personnel".

Roskomnadzor specifically cited a Thursday tweet by Meta spokesman Andy Stone conveying a company statement saying it had "made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules on violent speech, such as 'death to the Russian invaders'."

Live Story
4:45 PM
The New Arab Staff


Map - Ukraine invasion day 16
4:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

The UN disarmament chief told a Security Council meeting today that the international body was not aware of any "biological weapons program" in Ukraine.

However, she did warn that the possibility of an accident at Ukraine's nuclear power plants was "growing by the day". 

Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting requested by Russia, to discuss Moscow's claims, presented without evidence, of US "biological activities", Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said situations like the war in Ukraine required strengthening of the international ban on biological weapons.

3:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

At least 1,582 civilians in Ukraine's southeastern city of Mariupol have been killed as a result of Russian shelling and a 12-day blockade, the city council said in an online statement on Friday.

"We will never forget and will never forgive this crime against humanity," it said.

Three people died when a maternity hospital was bombed in the city [source: Getty]
3:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine's ambassador urged Israel on Friday to step up its support for Ukraine by sanctioning Moscow, accepting more Ukrainian refugees and sending defence equipment.

Israel has condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and sent humanitarian aid. 

However, it has also maintained contacts with Moscow, with which it coordinates strikes in Syria. 

2:27 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that the EU "should do more" for his country. 

"The European Union should do more. It must do more for us, for Ukraine," he said in a video statement on Telegram. 

"The decisions of politicians must coincide with the mood of their people," he added.

2:01 PM
The New Arab Staff

The situation in Mariupol - a besieged city in the southeast of Ukraine - is critical, said interior ministry adviser Vadym Denysenko. 

Residents trapped in the city have been trying to evacuate for days. However, attempts to create humanitarian corridors for civilians have broken down. 

It is not clear whether eight trucks carrying humanitarian aid will be able to reach the southern port, said Denysenko.

The Red Cross has described conditions in the port city as 'apocalyptic' [Getty]
1:38 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia's Putin sees 'positive shifts' in talks with Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today some progress had been made in Moscow's talks with Ukraine, while the Kremlin said the conflict would end when the West took action to address Moscow concerns.

At a Kremlin meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Putin said Western sanctions would not hinder Russian development and that Russia would end up stronger.

He then said Ukrainian negotiations were taking place practically every day.

"There are certain positive shifts, negotiators on our side tell me," Putin said. "I will talk about all of this later."

1:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Kyiv mayor says supply lines open, people returning to fight Russians

Kyiv mayor and former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko told Reuters today that he believed there were nearly 2 million people still left in the city, which is being squeezed by advancing Russian forces on several fronts.

He said that the Ukrainian capital, normally home to some 3.5 million people, had enough vital supplies to last a couple of weeks, and that supply lines in and out remained open for now.

His brother Wladimir, also a heavyweight boxing star, added in the joint interview that some of the men and women who had accompanied their families to the relative safety of the west of the country were returning to take part in the city's defence.

"We guess close to 2 million people are still in Kyiv and it's very important to give services to people," Vitali told Reuters in the centre of Kyiv.

"We have right now electricity, heating, gas, we have water," he added, speaking in English.

He thanked countries for sending supplies to Ukraine, and estimated that Kyiv had enough vital goods to last another two weeks, although supply lines did remain open.

Kyiv [Getty]
1:05 PM
The New Arab Staff

Moscow opens case against Meta for calling for 'murder' of Russians

Russia said today it was opening a criminal case against Meta for "calling for the murder" of Russians, saying the parent company of Facebook and Instagram had relaxed rules on violent messages aimed at Russia's army and leaders.

Russia's Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said it was launching an investigation "due to illegal calls for the murder of Russian nationals by employees of the American company Meta."

Russia's General Prosecutor's Office also requested that the internet giant be branded "extremist" and called for Instagram to be blocked in the country.

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The announcement came just over two weeks since President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine, with Russia seeking to ban any criticism of the military campaign.

The General Prosecutor's Office said "materials were being distributed on Instagram that contained calls for committing violent acts against the citizens of Russia, including military personnel."

It said it had asked Russia's media watchdog Roskomnadzor to "restrict access" to Instagram.

12:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia has fired 328 cruise missiles at Ukrainian communities

The commander-in-chief of Ukraine's armed forces said on Friday Russia had launched 328 cruise missiles at Ukrainian cities, towns and villages since the start of its invasion on February 24.

"This bloody crime of (Russian president) Putin's regime is a blatant violation of the international humanitarian law," General Valeriy Zaluzhny said in an online post.

Russia has denied targeting civilians during what it calls its “special operation” in Ukraine.

12:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Norway ship certifier DNV says winding down business in Russia

Norway's DNV, one of the world's top ship certifiers, is winding down its Russia business and reviewing all existing contracts becoming the latest company to cut such services as pressure grows on Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine.

Classification societies provide services such as checking that ships are seaworthy and this certification cover is vital for securing insurance and entry into ports.

"We are deeply disturbed by the invasion of Ukraine, which is inflicting terrible harm to the citizens of Ukraine and threatening peace across the region," Remi Eriksen, DNV group president and chief executive said in a statement on Friday.

"We are reviewing our existing business portfolio with Russian entities and are winding down all related business.”

12:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia puts Kremlin critic Navalny's spokeswoman on wanted list

Russian authorities have put Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh on a wanted list and are now seeking jail time for her, interior ministry and court databases showed today.

"All that's left is to work even better!" Yarmysh said in a Twitter post, reacting to news that authorities were taking steps to track her down and imprison her.

Yarmysh left Russia last year after a court imposed 18 months of restrictions on her freedom of movement for breaching Covid-19 safety rules.

Russian authorities have cracked down hard on the opposition, and many of Navalny's most prominent allies have left Russia rather than face restrictions or jail at home.

Navalny - President Vladimir Putin's most prominent opponent - was jailed last year when he returned to Russia after receiving medical treatment in Germany following a poison attack with a nerve agent during a visit to Siberia in 2020.

Russian authorities have denied carrying out such an attack.

Navalny, who is able to publish social media posts through his lawyers and allies, on today called for anti-war protests in Moscow and other cities on Sunday over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Alexei Navalny [Getty]
12:05 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia could surround Ukrainian city of Odessa on three sides - mayor

The mayor of Odesssa has said that Russian forces could soon surround his southern Ukrainian port city on three fronts.

Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov suggested Russian forces would seek to advance from territories they have occupied in Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region towards Moldova's separatist-controlled Transdniestria region, where Russian troops are based. Such a move could cut Odessa off from the rest of Ukraine.

"Also, we think that while this is happening, Russian landing ships could surround us from the sea," Trukhanov added.

11:59 AM
The New Arab Staff

Kremlin says Ukraine conflict will end when West takes Russia 'seriously'

The Kremlin said today that the conflict in Ukraine would end when the West took action over Russia's repeatedly raised concerns about the killing of civilians in eastern Ukraine and NATO enlargement eastwards.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, asked by reporters how the crisis could end, set out Russia's position and said he believed that Ukraine was discussing Moscow's demands with the United States and other allies.

"Russia formulated concrete demands to Ukraine to resolve those questions. As far as we understand, those demands are being discussed by the Ukrainians with their advisers, primarily the United States and European Union countries," he said.

"Lets hope. That needs to be done. Then it will all end," Peskov said.

Dmitry Peskov [Getty]
11:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

Russia-made military drone crashes in Zagreb

A Russia-made military drone crashed in the Croatian capital Zagreb and damaged several vehicles but no one was injured, officials have said.

"A military drone produced by Russia, according to our information, crashed" late Thursday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said.

"At this moment we do not know exactly whether it was owned by the Russian or Ukrainian army," added Plenkovic who spoke to Croatian reporters in Versailles where he is attending a European Union summit.

The drone entered Croatia's airspace from Hungary, the prime minister said.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told him it entered Hungary from Romania, Plenkovic added.

All three countries are NATO members.

11:29 AM
The New Arab Staff

Kremlin okays fighters from Syria

The Kremlin has said that fighters from Syria and the Middle East would be allowed to fight for Russia in Ukraine, after President Vladimir Putin backed a plan to send volunteers to battle there.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia's defence minister had said that "most of those who want and who asked (to fight) are citizens of Middle East countries and Syrians".

Peskov said the decision to send volunteer fighters to Ukraine was acceptable, claiming that the United States was backing measures to send mercenaries to fight alongside Kyiv's army in Ukraine.

Russia launched a massive military operation in Ukraine late last month, spurring an exodus of refugees in Europe and allegations of war crimes.

"If the West is so enthusiastic about the arrival of mercenaries, then we also have volunteers who want to participate," Peskov told journalists.

11:05 AM
The New Arab Staff

President Joe Biden is expected to announce on Friday that the US will call to revoke Russia's "most favored nation" trade status following its invasion of Ukraine. 

Most favoured nation (MFN) is an international trade status accorded by one state to another, and means the country which is the recipient must nominally receive equal trade advantages.

Biden called the invasion of Ukraine an 'unprovoked and unjustified attack' [Getty]
10:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

No casualties have been reported after a Russian airstrike hit a psychiatric hospital in Ukraine’s eastern region of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s State Emergencies Service said in a statement.

"All 30 staff and 330 patients were in a bomb shelter at the time of the strike," it said.

10:25 AM
The New Arab Staff

German public broadcasters ARD, ZDF resuming reporting from Russia

German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF said today they were resuming reporting from Russia, after a pause to examine the consequences of Moscow's tough new media laws.

The broadcasters had halted reporting from their Moscow studios after Russian lawmakers voted to impose jail terms on media publishing what Russia deemed was "fake news" about the army.

Following consultation with partners in the European broadcasting network, the German TV stations said that they would return to the studios in the Russian capital to report about the "political, economic and societal situation in Russia".

But they "will cover the military situation in Ukraine from other sites".

"The Moscow correspondents of ARD and ZDF will report on the decisions of the Russian leadership but also on reactions of civil society, for instance protests against the war, reactions of Russian elites or the concrete impact of sanctions on the daily lives of Russian citizens," they said in a statement.

10:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

EU proposes extra 500 mn euros for Ukraine military aid

The European Union is proposing to double financing for military aid to Ukraine by an additional 500 million euros to help Kyiv's forces battling Russia's invasion, the bloc's foreign policy chief said Friday.

Josep Borrell said he was "certain" EU leaders meeting in France would agree to expand the spending package that has seen the bloc fund weapons going to Ukraine.

Josep Borrell [Getty]
9:55 AM
The New Arab

Kazakh, Turkish carriers suspend Russia flights

Kazakhstan's national airline Air Astana and Turkish budget airline Pegasus Airlines said today they were temporary suspending flights to Russia, following sanctions imposed on Moscow over its military incursion in Ukraine.

The companies made the decision because of uncertainties over insurance of aircraft bound for Russia, they said in separate press releases.

Air Astana, which operates flights to several destinations in Russia said it was seeking to "restore flights as soon as possible".

The carrier's decision means there are no direct connections between Moscow and Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty, representatives of two travel agencies in Almaty told AFP.

9:35 AM
The New Arab Staff

Russian forces hit Ukrainian psychiatric hospital

Ukraine accused Russian forces of hitting a psychiatric hospital near the eastern Ukrainian town of Izyum today in what the regional governor called "a brutal attack on civilians".

Oleh Synegubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, said 330 people had been at the hospital at the time, some of them confined to wheelchairs or unable to move, and that 73 had been evacuated.

The number of casualties was being established, he said.

"This is a war crime against civilians, genocide against the Ukrainian nation," Synegubov wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

9:18 AM
The New Arab Staff

Two and a half million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, the United Nations said on Friday.

"Two and a half million people have now fled Ukraine, including 116,000 third-country nationals," Paul Dillon, spokesman for the UN's International Organization for Migration, announced on Twitter.

9:11 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Friday that her country hoped a "humanitarian corridor" will be opened successfully for civilians to leave the besieged southern city of Mariupol. 

400,000 people have been unable to leave the city which has been targeted by successive Russian attacks and without power or water, according to Ukraine's foreign minister earlier this week.   

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that not a single civilian was evacuated from Mariupol on Thursday, a day after an attack on a hospital which he said killed three people.


"We hope it will work today," Vereshchuk said in a televised statement [Getty]
9:06 AM
The New Arab Staff

Russian forces invading Ukraine have killed more Ukrainian civilians than soldiers, Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Friday.

"I want this to be heard not only in Kyiv but all over the world," said Reznikov.

At least 549 civilians have been killed since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, 41 of whom were children, said the UN according to reports on Thursday.