The New Arab's live coverage of the latest on the Ukraine-Russia crisis concludes for today.
Join us tomorrow for the latest news and analysis on Ukraine-Russia.
A Russian air strike on Wednesday severely damaged a paediatric and maternity hospital in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, injuring at least 17 people.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that adults and children were "under the wreckage," in a video he posted on Twitter.
Conditions in the city have been described as "apocalyptic".
Ukraine evacuated more than 40,000 people in one day on Wednesday but struggled to get civilians away from conflict zones around the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol, one of the negotiators in the Russia talks said.
It comes after a reported pledge from Russia to half its shelling of these cities to allow for the evacuations.
Besieged cities such as Mariupol and Kharkiv have been subject to a hail of Russian bombing, with desperate attempts to evacuate civilians during a ceasefire on humanitarian corridors between 9am and 9pm Wednesday.
There are fears of further bloodshed with Russia targeting civilians using these humanitarian corridors in the past.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that Russia had agreed to half its shelling of these areas on Wednesday and warned Moscow against breaking the truce.
A Russian air strike destroyed a children's hospital in the besieged Ukrainian port of Mariupol on Wednesday, triggering renewed global outrage two weeks into Moscow's invasion of its ex-Soviet neighbour.
The strike came as Mariupol's mayor said more than 1,200 civilians had died in the nine-day Russian siege of the southern port of almost half a million, with people left cowering without power or water under a barrage of shelling.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the hospital attack as a "war crime".
The strike in Mariupol took place 14 days after Russian forces entered Ukraine in defiance of the international community - and on the eve of the highest-level talks to date between the two nations.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov landed in Turkey for the face-to-face talks set for Thursday with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, who warned in a Facebook video his expectations were "limited".
While Moscow vowed to respect a 12-hour truce to allow civilians to flee cities, its forces have made rapid advances towards the capital Kyiv, approaching Brovary, a large eastern suburb, AFP journalists saw.
Fighting has intensified in the area, with Ukrainian forces trying to repel the Russian tanks, residents and volunteers of the Ukrainian forces told AFP.
The International Monetary Fund board on Wednesday approved $1.4 billion in emergency financing for war-torn Ukraine to help the country deal with the "massive humanitarian and economic crisis" caused by the Russian invasion.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the package provides "critical financial support" which in turn will catalyze a "large-scale mobilization" of funding needed to "mitigate the economic impacts of the war."
Caterpillar Inc said on Wednesday it was suspending operations in its manufacturing facilities in Russia, joining a growing number of companies that have halted business in the country after its invasion of Ukraine.
"Operations in Russia have become increasingly challenging, including supply chain disruptions and sanctions, and we are suspending operations in our Russian manufacturing facilities," a company spokesperson said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday told Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy he is committed to further tightening sanctions to impose maximum economic cost on Russia, a Downing Street spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said Johnson discussed the situation in Ukraine on a call with Zelenskiy on Wednesday evening.
Zelenskiy tweeted that the two leaders had also discussed "further support for Ukraine in fighting the aggressor, including defense assistance". He did not give details.
Russia's delegation at peace talks with Ukraine "will not concede a single negotiating point," RIA news agency cited negotiator Leonid Slutsky as telling a television station on Wednesday.
The two sides have carried out three rounds of talks since the start of the Russian invasion. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to have talks in Turkey on Thursday with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.
The Pentagon on Wednesday offered a conclusive rejection of a plan to transfer fighter jets from Poland to Ukraine to battle Russian forces there, saying the "high risk" move could have been interpreted as an escalation.
After US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Polish counterpart earlier Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters that "we do not support the transfer of additional fighter aircraft to the Ukrainian Air Force at this time, and therefore have no desire to see them in our custody."
"That is something that we are not going to explore right now," Kirby added, regarding Poland's offer to send its fleet of Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets to Kyiv via a US air base in Germany.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned an airstrike on a children's hospital in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, vowing to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin to account "for his terrible crimes".
There are few things more depraved than targeting the vulnerable and defenceless.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 9, 2022
The UK is exploring more support for Ukraine to defend against airstrikes and we will hold Putin to account for his terrible crimes. #PutinMustFail https://t.co/JBuvB78HVC
According to the latest reports, Seventeen people were wounded in a Russian attack on a hospital in Mariupol, including women in labour.
Russia carried out the airstrike on a children's hospital on Wednesday during an agreed ceasefire period that was meant to allow the evacuation of civilians from the besieged southern city.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of carrying out an airstrike on a hospital in the southern port city of Mariupol in which he said children were among people "under the wreckage".
Mariupol's city council said the hospital had been destroyed.
It said it did not know any casualty figures but added: "The destruction is colossal."
The reports could not immediately be verified by Reuters.
UN investigators on Wednesday urged world leaders to do everything they could to avoid Ukraine becoming another Syria, a country "destroyed" by 11 years of conflict.
Russian forces have been involved in the Syrian civil war since 2015 and the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said it hoped the disregard for civilian casualties would not be repeated in Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
Rather than winding down, the investigators said the war in Syria was heating up again and warned that its participants may take advantage of world attention turning away towards Ukraine.
To follow The New Arab's coverage on the war in Syria, click here.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia of holding 400,000 residents of Mariupol hostage by shelling the southern Ukrainian port city despite efforts to establish a safe evacuation corridor for civilians.
"Almost 3,000 newborn babies lack medicine and food," he wrote on Twitter.
"Russia continues holding hostage over 400,000 people in Mariupol, blocks humanitarian aid and evacuation. Indiscriminate shelling continues."
Russia has denied targeting civilians in what it calls a "special operation" in Ukraine.
Russia continues holding hostage over 400.000 people in Mariupol, blocks humanitarian aid and evacuation. Indiscriminate shelling continues. Almost 3.000 newborn babies lack medicine and food. I urge the world to act! Force Russia to stop its barbaric war on civilians and babies!— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 9, 2022
Latest reports have indicated that there were only limited signs of progress for the provision of escape routes for hundreds of thousands of people trapped in Ukrainian cities, according to Reuters.
A new ceasefire in Ukraine was announced on Wednesday, following failed attempts to get civilians evacuated from cities besieged by Russian troops.
The governor of Sumy, an eastern city, said civilian cars were leaving for a second day through a safe corridor.
However, by midday, there was no confirmation that any of the other evacuation corridors had been successfully opened.
The number of refugees fleeing Ukraine increased by more than 140,000 in 24 hours, according to UN figures issued on Wednesday.
Over 2.15 million people have now fled since Russia invaded on February 24.
Almost half of all those fleeing Ukraine have crossed into Poland, with Tuesday's figures showing that 1.2 million had crossed into the country in the past 13 days.https://t.co/VzzamkMMZv— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) March 8, 2022
Power has been entirely cut to the Chernobyl power plant, site of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986, and its security systems, Ukraine's energy operator Ukrenergo said on Wednesday.
The nuclear power plant "was fully disconnected from the power grid," it said in a statement on its Facebook page, adding that military operations meant "there is no possibility to restore the lines".
The EU agreed to a new round of sanctions targetting senior Russian officials and oligarchs on Wednesday.
The new sanctions will also include restrictions on the maritime sector and exclude three Belarussian banks from the SWIFT banking system.
The additional sanctions will be formally approved by leaders of the bloc's 27 member states at a summit in Versailles France on Thursday and Friday.
Poland said NATO must work together to supply fighter jets to Ukraine on Wednesday.
This follows Washington's rejection of Warsaw's offer to fly all its MIG-29 jets to a US airbase with a view to them being supplied to Kyiv.
Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski told public radio station Polskie Radio 1 that Poland had to prioritise its security when considering the supply of jets to Ukraine.
"It cannot be that Poland has - as the only NATO country - to take the risk, and the other countries would not have to compensate or share it with us in any way," he said.
To read this story in full, click here.
Poland has been praised for opening its borders to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian assault, in what has become Europe's fastest-growing humanitarian crisis since World War II.
The UN said yesterday that around 2 million people have been made refugees following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. Poland has hosted 1.3 million of these.
The country has attracted praise for its response, despite criticism in the past for its lack of assistance during Europe's last refugee crisis, when millions of Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans fled wars.
Fantastic reporting from @lewis_goodall on @BBCNewsnight on the Polish response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis. No refugee camps - Poles have opened their homes and hearts to refugees, children enrolled in school within a week. The UK Govt's response by comparison is shameful.— Munira Wilson MP 🇺🇦 (@munirawilson) March 8, 2022
The BBC is back on air in Russia, days after it was paused following the introduction of a restrictive new media law in the country.
The broadcaster said it had decided to resume operations after "careful deliberation", amid the threat of 15-year jail terms for journalists spreading "fake news".
Russia's already suffocating environment for media has been further restricted during the war.
The new law was seen as the final nail in the coffin for free press in Russia with the few remaining independent outlets folding and many international newspapers and broadcasters evacuating staff.
"We have considered the implications of the new legislation alongside the urgent need to report from inside Russia," the BBC said in a statement.
"After careful deliberation we have decided to resume English language reporting from Russia this evening (Tuesday 8 March), after it was temporarily suspended at the end of last week."
"We will tell this crucial part of the story independently and impartially, adhering to the BBC's strict editorial standards. The safety of our staff in Russia remains our number one priority."
Ukraine says it will halt fire between 9am and 9pm and urged Russia to do the same, to allow civilians to escape key besieged cities.
Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a video statement that cities such as Mariupol will be evacuated on Wednesday, which has been subject to fierce Russian bombardments killing hundreds of civilians.
Previous attempts to create humanitarian corridors fell apart after Russia shelled the fleeing civilians.
Vereshchuk said the corridors would be opened from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia; Enerhodar to Zaporizhzhia; Sumy to Poltava; Izyum to Lozova; Volnovakha to Pokrovsk; and from several towns around Kyiv which she identified as Vorzel, Borodyanka, Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel to the capital, according to Reuters.
Read more here: