Russia invades Ukraine: Bombs rain down on Mariupol as rescuers try to evacuate civilians

Russia invades Ukraine: Bombs rain down on Mariupol as rescuers try to evacuate civilians
Live Story
10 March, 2022

Ukraine is attempting to rescue civilians from Mariupol, as Russian forces continue their shelling of the besieged city.

A humanitarian corridor was opened on Wednesday out of the city, but Russian strikes - including on a maternity ward - hindered the evacuation.

Ukrainian officials made fresh attempts on Thursday to get civilians out of Mariupol but Kyiv said Russia is continuing to block their exit.

Kyiv's mayor, meanwhile, said half the population of the capital had fled following two-weeks of brutal Russian bombardments.

Russia's bombing of a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol has been condemned as a "war crime", which left three people dead, including one child, and 17 injured.

The strike took place during a ceasefire covering the city, as Ukrainian officials attempted to evacuate civilians from the city.

The UN had earlier described conditions in the Mariupol as "apocalyptic" with constant shelling of the besieged city. 



1:38 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The World Health Organization advised Ukraine to destroy high-threat pathogens housed in the country's public health laboratories to prevent "any potential spills" that would spread disease among the population, the agency told Reuters on Thursday.

Biosecurity experts say Russia's movement of troops into Ukraine and bombardment of its cities have raised the risk of an escape of disease-causing pathogens, should any of those facilities be damaged.

Like many other countries, Ukraine has public health laboratories researching how to mitigate the threats of dangerous diseases affecting both animals and humans including, most recently, COVID-19. Its labs have received support from the United States, the European Union and the WHO.

In response to questions from Reuters about its work with Ukraine ahead of and during Russia's invasion, the WHO said in an email that it has collaborated with Ukrainian public health labs for several years to promote security practices that help prevent "accidental or deliberate release of pathogens."

"As part of this work, WHO has strongly recommended to the Ministry of Health in Ukraine and other responsible bodies to destroy high-threat pathogens to prevent any potential spills," the WHO, a United Nations agency, said.

12:12 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations Security Council will convene on Friday at Russia's request, diplomats said, to discuss Moscow's claims, presented without evidence, of U.S. biological activities in Ukraine.

The meeting is expected to be in the morning.

"Russian Mission asked for a meeting of #SecurityCouncil for 11 March to discuss the military biological activities of the US on the territory of #Ukraine," Dmitry Polyanskiy, First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations said in a tweet.

The United States on Wednesday denied renewed Russian accusations that Washington was operating biological warfare labs in Ukraine, calling the claims "laughable" and suggesting Moscow may be laying the groundwork to use a chemical or biological weapon.

11:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russian planes bombed an institute in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv that is home to an experimental nuclear reactor and a neighbouring hostel is on fire, a senior Ukrainian official said on Thursday.

Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the minister of internal affairs, said in an online post that the Institute of Physics and Technology contained "sources of radiation used for scientific purposes".

The Interfax Ukraine news agency said the fire service was extinguishing a blaze in a five-story hostel which covered a total of 100 square metres (1,100 square feet).

The Ukrainian parliament's official website had earlier said fighting close to the institute was continuing.

Russian forces last week captured the nuclear power station at Zaporizhzhia after an attack during which an adjacent training facility was set on fire.

9:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ukraine told the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Thursday it has lost all contact with the radioactive waste facilities at Chernobyl next to the defunct power plant at the site of the world's worst nuclear accident in 1986, which is now held by Russian forces.

"Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it had lost today all communications with the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), the day after the Russian-controlled site lost all external power supplies," the IAEA said in a statement, adding that before there was contact by email. 

7:27 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday South Africa had been asked to mediate in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and that he had told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone call it should be settled through negotiations.

Ramaphosa did not say who had made the request or give more details on how he planned to work with the two sides.

"Based on our relations with the Russian Federation and as a member of BRICS, South Africa has been approached to play a mediation role," Ramaphosa said, referring to the emerging market group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

There were no immediate announcements from Moscow or Kyiv confirming South Africa's role.

6:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday the "barbaric" Russian regime was indulging in a tried-and-tested ruse as it lays the ground for the possible use of chemical weapons in Ukraine.

"The stuff which you are hearing about chemical weapons is straight out of the Russian playbook," he told Sky News, echoing US warnings that President Vladimir Putin could be set on a horrifying escalation.

"They start saying that there are chemical weapons that are being stored by their opponents or by the Americans, so that when they themselves deploy chemical weapons -- as I fear they may -- they have a fake story ready to go," Johnson said.

"You have seen it in Syria, you saw it even in the UK. It is a cynical, barbaric government I'm afraid."

5:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday it was important for Ankara to maintain dialogue with both Ukraine and Russia to prevent their conflict from worsening.

Erdogan also told Biden in a phone call that Turkey's facilitator role in trying to find a solution to the conflict was important, according to a statement from his office.

NATO member Turkey, which shares a maritime border with Russia and Ukraine in the Black Sea, has good relations with both countries. It has called Russia's invasion unacceptable although it opposes sanctions against Moscow.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba met in Turkey's southern Antalya province on Thursday under Ankara's auspices.

4:29 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said relations with the West have been seriously ruptured by the war in Ukraine, hinting at a possible pivot toward Asia.

Lavrov had been holding talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in Turkey when he said that Russia would no longer deal with western nations and companies.

It follows sanctions by the US and European powers and boycotts by consumers and companies of Russia over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

He also said that of a potential Russian attack against the former Soviet Baltic states "appear to be old hoaxes", according to Reuters.

Russia had denied plans to invade Ukraine right up to the eve of the military assault.


2:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

More than 2.3 million refugees have now fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion on February 24, according to United Nations figures issued Thursday.

UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, recorded 2,316,002 refugees on its dedicated website -- 160,731 more than the previous count on Wednesday.

"UNHCR needs about $500 million for its emergency work in Ukraine and neighbouring countries," the agency's chief Filippo Grandi tweeted Thursday.

"So far we have received over $300 million, of which almost $200 million from individuals, companies and foundations.

"This is unprecedented: a sign of extraordinary solidarity with the people of Ukraine."

1:17 PM
The New Arab Staff

Half the population of Kyiv has fled since the Russian invasion began, its mayor Vitali Klitschko said Thursday, as Moscow's forces press ever closer to the Ukrainian capital.

"From our information, one in two Kyiv residents has left the city," he told Ukraine television.

"A little less than two million people have currently left. However, Kyiv has been transformed into a fortress. Every street, every building, every checkpoint has been fortified."

12:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

Britain's government is open to the sale of Chelsea soccer club but for that to go ahead, it would require another licence, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said after sanctions were imposed on its owner, Roman Abramovich.

"We would have to grant a further licence. I think it is fair to say the government is open to the sale of the club, but ... currently, it would require another licence and that would require a further conversation with the Treasury (finance ministry)," he told reporters.

"The principle has been to mitigate the impact on fans ..., these measures are designed to punish those close to Putin.”

11:41 AM
The New Arab Staff

Russia and Ukraine on Thursday failed to find a breakthrough on a ceasefire and other humanitarian issues at the first high-level talks between the two sides since Moscow's invasion.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba met on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in the Turkish resort city of Antalya for three-way talks joined by Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Kuleba said "no progress" had been achieved on even a 24-hour ceasefire, expressing frustration that "it seems that there are other decision-makers for this matter in Russia".

9:44 AM
The New Arab Staff

There are questions about what impact sanctions on Roman Abramovich could have on Chelsea Football Club.

Some journalists are suggesting that the club will no longer be able to sell tickets or merchandise due to the new law.

We have approached Chelsea FC for comment on the reports.

9:23 AM
The New Arab Staff

Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK, after calls for the Putin-linked businessman to be penalised.

Chelsea owner Abramovich, Igor Sechin, Oleg Deripaska, and Dmitri Lebedev were all named on the sanctions list.

"There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

It follows widespread pressure on the UK government to sanction Abramovich.

More to follow

There have been calls for the Chelsea FC owner to be sanctioned [Getty]
9:18 AM
The New Arab Staff

Poland's ambassador to Kyiv suggested that imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine may help end the war faster and prevent more casualties.

"Every day of delay costs hundreds of human lives," Bartosz Cichocki told private broadcaster TVN24 from Kyiv. "This is an extension of the conflict that could be ended much faster precisely thanks to the closure of the airspace."

9:04 AM
The New Arab Staff

French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune has downplayed talk that Ukraine is set to join the EU, following Russia's unprovoked invasion of the country.

"It will take time," said Beaune as EU leaders meet in France to discuss the Ukraine war.

There is said to be a split in the EU about Ukraine's relationship with the body with some wanting to give Kyiv fast-track membership as a symbol of solidarity.

Others are more reticent about Ukraine's membership bid.

It is "not for tomorrow", added Beaune about the EU meeting.

8:56 AM
The New Arab Staff

The US has warned that Russia might be preparing a chemical weapons attack in Ukraine, following Moscow's "discovery" of a US biological weapons lab in the country.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said this was an "obvious ploy" and rejected the Russian claims.

She also warned that "we should all be on the lookout" for Russia using non-conventional weapons, likely referring to the possible deployment of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.

"We should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them - it's a clear pattern," she said.

8:42 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has condemned the Russian bombing of a maternity hospital in the city of Mariupol, which killed three people including one child.

The strike took place during a ceasefire that reduced the medical facility to rubble with horrific scenes of injured children and pregnant women escaping the scene.

"Today, we must be united in condemning this war crime of Russia, which reflects all the evil that the invaders brought to our land," he said in a televised speech. 

"A children's hospital. A maternity hospital. How did they threaten the Russian Federation?"



The New Arab Staff
The New Arab Staff & Agencies