Russia invades Ukraine updates: Moscow fires hypersonic missiles as Kyiv presses for peace deal

Russia invades Ukraine updates: Moscow fires hypersonic missiles as Kyiv presses for peace deal
The New Arab is providing live updates of what's been happening on the ground in Ukraine and additional analysis on the conflict's significance. 
21 min read
19 March, 2022

Russia on Saturday admitted using advanced hypersonic missiles for the first time in the Ukraine conflict as Kyiv's embattled leader Volodymyr Zelensky called for urgent peace talks.

Moscow has never admitted using the state-of-the-art missile in combat before.

Moscow also said its troops had broken Ukrainian defences to enter the strategic southern port city of Mariupol and destroyed radio and intelligence sites just outside Odessa.

Meanwhile Ukraine's leader once again appealed for peace.

"This is the time to meet, to talk, time for renewing territorial integrity and fairness for Ukraine," Zelensky said in a Facebook video.

"Otherwise, Russia's losses will be such, that several generations will not recover."

Ukraine claimed Saturday that a Russian general had been killed by strikes on an airfield outside Kherson, just north of Crimea, saying he was the fifth top-ranking officer killed since the invasion began on February 24.

The New Arab is providing live updates of what's been happening on the ground in Ukraine and additional analysis on the conflict's significance. 

Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for more.

12:02 AM
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: 

Ukraine urges China to condemn Russia 

Ukraine called on China to join the West in condemning "Russian barbarism" after the US warned Beijing of consequences if it backed Moscow's attack on the country.

"China can be the global security system's important element if it makes a right decision to support the civilised countries' coalition and condemn Russian barbarism," presidential aide Mikhailo Podolyak said. 

Russia uses hypersonic missiles 

Russia said it used hypersonic missiles for the first time in Ukraine to destroy a weapons storage site in the west of the country.

Hypersonic missiles travel faster than the speed of sound and can manoeuvre mid-flight, making them hard to track and intercept.

Russia's defence ministry said it used the technology to strike an underground arms depot in the village of Deliatyn, around 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Ukraine's border with Romania.

Air raids on Mykolaiv

Russian air raids on Mykolaiv were taking place in quick succession on Saturday, Vitaly Kim, head of the regional administration, said, a day after a deadly strike on a military barracks in the southern Ukrainian city.

Ukraine's President calls for talks with Russia 

Volodymyr Zelensky called for urgent talks with Russia, saying in a Facebook video they are the "only chance for Russia to minimise the damage done with their own mistakes".

UN warns of growing humanitarian need in Ukraine 

The UN warned that the humanitarian needs are becoming ever more urgent across eastern Ukraine, with a potentially fatal lack of food, water and medicines in besieged cities such as Mariupol and Sumy.

Join us tomorrow for more news and analysis on the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for more.

10:11 PM
The New Arab Staff

Japan PM presses Modi for Indian 'action' on Ukraine

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida urged India's Narendra Modi on Saturday to take a tougher line on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. However, a joint statement after talks in Delhi fell short of condemning Moscow's actions.

Unlike fellow members of the Quad alliance - Japan, Australia and the United States - India has abstained in UN votes deploring Russia's actions, calling only for a halt to the violence while still buying Russian oil.

9:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

Italy slams 'odious' threats by Russia over sanctions

Italy has reacted furiously to "odious and unacceptable" insults and threats by a senior Russian foreign ministry official attacking sanctions applied against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

Alexey Paramonov, head of the Russian foreign ministry's European department, accused Italy of falling victim to "anti-Russian hysteria". 

Paramonov said Russia had provided "significant assistance" to Italy during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, at the request of Italy's defence minister Lorenzo Guerini.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi condemned the "comparison between the invasion of Ukraine and the pandemic crisis in Italy" as "particularly odious and unacceptable".

8:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

US lawmakers visit Poland

US lawmakers visited Poland and said on Saturday that the most urgent need in Ukraine's fight against a Russian invasion is to equip and support the country in every way that will help it defend its independence.

The seven-member delegation led by Stephen Lynch, a Democrat from Massachusetts, went to reception centres for refugees from Ukraine in eastern Poland.

“We are here to reassure and support the people of Ukraine. We are here to thank the people of Poland for the unbelievable generosity they have shown to the refugees,” said Lynch. 

7:53 PM
The New Arab Staff

Southern Ukraine city of Mykolaiv facing air raids

Russian air raids on Mykolaiv were taking place in quick succession on Saturday, a regional official said, a day after a deadly strike on a military barracks in the southern Ukrainian city.

Vitaly Kim, head of the regional administration, said there wasn't even enough time to raise the alarm over the raids "because by the time we announce this tornado, it's already there".

"The (alert) message and the bombings arrive at the same time," he said on social media.

He gave no details about the extent of the damage or on any possible victims.

7:36 PM
The New Arab Staff

Mariupol police officer pleads for help from US and French presidents 

A Ukrainian police officer in Mariupol has warned that the besieged port city has been “wiped off the face of the earth” and pleaded with the presidents of the United States and France to provide his country with a modern air defence system.

In a video post from a rubble-strewn street, Mariupol police officer Michail Vershnin told President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron that they had promised assistance, “but what we have received is not quite it," and urged them to save the civilian population.

7:09 PM
The New Arab Staff

Over 6,000 people evacuated from Ukrainian cities via humanitarian corridors

A total of 6,623 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Saturday, a senior official said, considerably fewer than managed to escape the previous day.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president's office, said in an online post that 4,128 people had left the besieged city of Mariupol.

On Friday, he said 9,145 people had managed to leave cities across the country during the day. 

6:27 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hundreds of civilians killed during Rusian's invasion: UN

The UN human rights office (OHCHR) said on Saturday that at least 847 civilians had been killed and 1,399 wounded in Ukraine as of March 18.

Most of the casualties were from explosive weapons such as shelling from heavy artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems, and missile and airstrikes, OHCHR said.

The real toll is thought to be considerably higher since OHCHR, which has a large monitoring team in the country, has not yet been able to verify casualty reports from several badly hit cities, it said. 

6:22 PM
The New Arab Staff

Pope visits Ukrainian children in Rome 

Pope Francis visited Ukrainian children who have fled the Russian invasion on Saturday. The children are being cared for at the Vatican's paediatric hospital in Rome.

"Let us pray for them.... the children at the 'Bambino Gesu' wounded by war," the pontiff said as he addressed a children's choir.

"It is a difficult moment. We, here in Rome, will help them to get better," he said.

The Vatican said around 50 children in all had passed through the hospital since the war broke out.

Pope Francis has publicly expressed his solidarity with Ukraine [Getty]
6:19 PM
The New Arab Staff

Kyiv to receive more US weapons in coming days, Ukraine official says

Ukraine will receive a new shipment of US weapons within days, including Javelin and Stinger missiles, Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said on Saturday.

“The (weapons) will be on the territory of our country in the nearest future. We are talking about days,” Danilov said.

Ukraine's allies have delivered planeloads of weapons shipments to bolster its military against the Russian invasion.

Russia has criticised such deliveries from NATO member states. 

6:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia warns of Ukrainian mines in Black Sea

Russia has warned that mines that Ukrainians had deployed in the Black Sea against its "military operation" could drift as far as the Straits of Bosphrous and the Mediterranean Sea.

"After the start of the Russian special military operation, Ukrainian naval forces had deployed barriers of mines around the ports of Odessa, Ochakov, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny," the FSB security service said in a statement, adding that the mines were "dilapidated" and made in the first half of the 20th century.

Storms have cut cables to some of those mines that are now floating freely in the western Black Sea, pushed along by wind and the currents, it said.

Given the direction of the currents "the floating of the mines toward the Bosphrous and then on to the Mediterranean is not excluded", it said.

Since launching its offensive on February 24, Russia has gained control over large parts of Ukraine's Black Sea coastline.

5:38 PM
The New Arab Staff

Saudi foreign minister meets special envoy for Ukraine's president

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud met Bektum Rostam, a special envoy for Ukraine's president in Riyadh, Saudi state news agency (SPA) has reported today.

The two discussed the crisis in Ukraine, emphasising the Kingdom's support for reducing escalation, protecting civilians and seeking negotiated political solutions and international efforts to resolve the crisis politically.

5:23 PM
The New Arab Staff

Rescue work underway after southern air strike on Ukrainian troops, governor says

The governor of Ukraine's southern Mykolaiv region on Saturday said rescue work was ongoing at the site of an air strike on a facility where Ukrainian soldiers had been sleeping.

Speaking on national television, Governor Vitaliy Kim said the attack took place on Friday but gave no further detail about the location or the number of possible casualties.

Local media reported the strike hit a barracks in the regional capital.

4:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russian invasion shut down 30% of Ukraine's economy, finance minister says

The Russian invasion has forced 30 percent of Ukraine’s economy to stop working, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said in a televised interview on Saturday.

“Our tax revenues do not allow us to cover our needs, (therefore) the main revenue stream is borrowing,” Marchenko said.

4:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine's Zelensky urges Swiss to crack down on Russian oligarchs

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Switzerland today to crack down on Russian oligarchs who he said were helping to wage war on his country from the safety of "beautiful Swiss towns".

In an audiolink address to thousands attending an anti-war protest in Bern, Zelensky thanked Switzerland for its support since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, but also had clear language about the Swiss financial sector.

"Your banks are where the money of the people who unleashed this war lies. That is painful. That is also a fight against evil, that their accounts are frozen. That would also be a fight, and you can do this," he said via a translator.

"Ukrainians feel what it is when cities are destroyed. They are being destroyed on the orders of people who live in European, in beautiful Swiss towns, who enjoy property in your cities. It would really be good to strip them of this privilege."

Neutral Switzerland, which is not a member of the European Union, has fully adopted EU sanctions against Russian individuals and entities, including orders to freeze their wealth in Swiss banks.

Zelensky [Getty]
4:09 PM
The New Arab Staff

German TV station hires Ukrainian anchor to host news show

German broadcaster RTL has hired a Ukrainian presenter to host a daily news show for others who have fled their homeland after the Russian invasion.

The commercial broadcaster said Karolina Ashion will present a 10-minute Ukrainian-language news program Mondays to Fridays addressed to the almost 200,000 people who have already arrived in Germany from Ukraine in the past month.

“We want to reach the people who are fleeing right now, who have to leave their home country, who may not speak English, and that’s why we are making a news offer in Ukrainian," said Malte Baumberger, the project manager for RTL's "Ukraine Update” program. "So that these people can find out what is going on in their country right now and what is the political situation.”

Ashion only made it to Germany about a week ago herself, following an arduous journey from Kyiv via Moldova and Romania.

Her male colleagues, who aren't allowed to leave Ukraine if they are between 18 and 60, are still broadcasting out of a bomb shelter in the country's capital, she said.

“My life has changed completely," Ashion said. “But I’m Ukrainian, and I want to be like a voice of freedom for people. For all the people suffering from this (war).”

3:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

More than 3.3 mn flee Ukraine, 6.5 mn internally displaced

More than 3.3 million refugees have now fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion, the United Nations has said today, while nearly 6.5 million are thought to be internally displaced within the country.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said 3,328,692 Ukrainians had left since the war began on February 24, with another 58,030 joining the exodus since Friday's update.

"People continue to flee because they are afraid of bombs, airstrikes and indiscriminate destruction," said UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi.

"Aid is vital but can't stop fear. Only stopping the war can."

Some 90 percent of those who have fled are women and children. Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 are eligible for military call-up and cannot leave.

3:23 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russians hold some $3 bln in financial assets in the Bahamas, central bank says

Financial institutions in the Bahamas have around $3 billion in assets whose owners are linked to Russia, the Caribbean nation's central bank has said.

The Bahamas on March 12 ordered a halt all transactions with Russian entities that have been put under sanction by Western nations.

The central bank found $420 million in deposits and $2.5 billion in custody or trust assets "with ultimate beneficial owners from or connected to Russia" in Bahamian financial institutions that are licensed to serve foreign clients.

Those figures apply only to the international banking and trust sector, which serve clients outside the country, and do not include any Russian assets that could be held in Bahamian banks that serve the local population, the central bank said.

It did not say what portion of those assets were held by Russians under sanction.

2:54 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia ridicules idea that cosmonauts wore yellow in support of Ukraine

Russia's space agency has dismissed Western media reports suggesting Russian cosmonauts joining the International Space Station (ISS) had chosen to wear yellow suits with a blue trim in support of Ukraine.

"Sometimes yellow is just yellow," Roscosmos' press service said on its Telegram channel.

"The flight suits of the new crew are made in the colours of the emblem of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University, which all three cosmonauts graduated from ... To see the Ukrainian flag everywhere and in everything is crazy."

Roscosmos Director-General Dmitry Rogozin was more acerbic, saying on his personal Telegram channel that Russian cosmonauts had no sympathy for Ukrainian nationalists.

In a live-streamed news conference from the ISS on Friday, veteran cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, the mission commander, was asked about the suits.

"Every crew picks a colour that looks different. It was our turn to pick a colour," he said. "The truth is, we had accumulated a lot of yellow fabric, so we needed to use it up. That's why we had to wear yellow flight suits."

2:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine calls on China to 'condemn Russian barbarism'

Ukraine has called on China to join the West in condemning "Russian barbarism", after the US warned Beijing of consequences if it backed Moscow's attack on the country.

"China can be the global security system's important element if it makes a right decision to support the civilised countries' coalition and condemn Russian barbarism," presidential aide Mikhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter.

China has stayed out of the international outcry against Russia's actions in Ukraine, refusing to condemn President Vladimir Putin's invasion.

Xi and Putin met last month at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, shortly before Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine.

Flag of China [Getty]
1:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

UK warns against post-Ukraine reset with Putin

The West must not try to "normalise relations" with Russian President Vladimir Putin after his invasion of Ukraine, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said today, calling the crisis a "turning point for the world".

"There are some around the world... who say that we're better off making accommodations with tyranny... I believe they are profoundly wrong," the British leader told his Conservative Party's Spring conference in Blackpool, northwest England.

"To try to renormalise relations with Putin after this, as we did in 2014, would be to make exactly the same mistake again, and that is why Putin must fail.

"This is a turning point for the world and it's a moment of choice. It's a choice between freedom and oppression," he added.

Johnson [Getty]
1:17 PM
The New Arab Staff

Czechs will look after Ukraine's 'wives and children', says PM

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala has said today that his country would take care of the "wives and children" fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has driven about 3 million Ukrainians to seek refuge in the EU's eastern flank.

Fiala, who travelled to Kyiv earlier this week with his Polish and Slovenian counterparts to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, added that the Czech Republic could cope with further refugee arrivals from Ukraine.

With men of conscription age prevented from leaving Ukraine, mostly women and children have crossed into the European Union at border points in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.

"I have informed Ukrainian friends that we will take care of their wives and children," Fiala said on Twitter.

"The speed and size of the refugee wave is incomparable with past waves but the Czech Republic can (handle) it."

Echoing the concerns of other leaders in the region, Fiala said countries receiving large numbers of refugees should receive EU financial support but voiced opposition to quotas.

"We do not want the EU to introduce quotas but to have financial solidarity with the countries most affected by the refugee wave," he said.

Poland, which shares a roughly 500-kilometre (310-mile) border with Ukraine, has accounted for more than 2 million of the refugee arrivals.

Ukrainian refugees [Getty]
11:54 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine's leader warns war will cost Russia for generations

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Russian forces are blockading his country's largest cities to wear the population down into submission, but he warned on Saturday that the strategy will fail and Moscow will lose in the long run if it doesn't end its war.

Zelenskyy accused the Kremlin of deliberately creating “a humanitarian catastrophe ” and appealed for Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet with him, using a huge Moscow stadium rally where Putin lavished praise on Russian forces on Friday to illustrate what was at stake.

“Just picture for yourself that in that stadium in Moscow there are 14,000 dead bodies and tens of thousands more injured and maimed. Those are the Russian costs throughout the invasion,” Zelenskyy said in a nightly video address to the nation recorded outside the presidential office in Kyiv.

Zelensky [Getty]
11:26 AM
The New Arab Staff

Aid agencies struggle to reach Ukraine's 'besieged' cities

Aid agencies are struggling to reach people trapped in Ukrainian cities ringed by Russian forces, the UN's World Food Programme has said today, including hundreds of thousands of women and children.

"The challenge is to get to the cities that are encircled or about to be encircled," emergency coordinator Jakob Kern told AFP, describing the situation as "dire".

Lack of humanitarian access is making it almost impossible to deliver emergency food supplies to the besieged port city of Mariupol, the northeastern city of Kharkiv and the northeastern city of Sumy.

It was a tactic that was "unacceptable in the 21st century", Kern said.

The Rome-based WFP has had to start the mission to stock up Ukraine's warehouses "from zero", and replacing broken food supply chains amidst bitter fighting is a "mammoth task", he said.

The agency hopes to reach 3.1 million people in Ukraine, but efforts to move supplies such as pasta, rice and canned meat around are hampered by difficulties in finding willing truck drivers.

"The closer you go to these cities, the more worried they are about their safety," Kern said.

"And that means we're not able to reach these people in Mariupol, Sumy, Kharkiv, in the cities that are almost encircled by now -- or completely in the case of Mariupol," he added.

11:05 AM
The New Arab Staff

Switzerland brands war in Ukraine 'devastating madness'

Russia's war in Ukraine is driven by "devastating madness", and Switzerland is prepared to pay the price for defending freedom and democracy, Swiss President Ignazio Cassis has said today.

Switzerland has decided to impose the same sanctions on Russia as the European Union but Cassis insisted Switzerland's neutrality was not at stake.

However, he said Switzerland could not simply stand by in the "confrontation between democracy and barbarism", and was prepared to take an economic hit.

"On February 24, the face of the world changed, and not in a good way. We must valiantly and tirelessly defend freedom and democracy. This has a price. A price that Switzerland is ready to assume", he wrote in Le Temps newspaper.

"This war is driven by a devastating madness which shatters all the principles and values of our civilisation."

While the there was no question of an economic crisis or a downturn for now, Cassis said the conflict would have an impact on the Swiss economy.

He said the country would have to cope with "sustained and significant inflation and rising energy prices", while the Swiss franc currency would remain a safe haven, which will hit exports.

"There is no solution which, with a wave of a magic wand, would save Switzerland from the consequences resulting from the current situation", he added.

Cassis said Switzerland will not send military support to Ukraine but neutrality could not mean indifference.

Ignazio Cassis [Getty]
10:34 AM
The New Arab Staff

UK fears 'more extreme' Russian actions in Ukraine

Peace talks to end the Ukraine conflict could be a "smokescreen" for more extreme Russian military manoeuvres, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has warned today.

"I'm very sceptical," Truss told The Times newspaper in an interview.

"What we've seen is an attempt to create space for the Russians to regroup. Their invasion isn't going according to plan.

"I fear the negotiation is yet another attempt to create a diversion and create a smokescreen. I don't think we're yet at a point for negotiation," she added.

Truss echoed comments by British intelligence that Putin could turn to "more and more extreme actions," adding "we've seen appalling atrocities already."

"The Kremlin has so far failed to achieve its original objectives. It has been surprised by the scale and ferocity of Ukrainian resistance and has been bedevilled with problems of its own making," Chief of Defence Intelligence Jim Hockenhull said on Friday.

"Russia is now pursuing a strategy of attrition. This will involve the reckless and indiscriminate use of firepower. This will result in increased civilian casualties, destruction of Ukrainian infrastructure and intensify the humanitarian crisis," he added.

Truss said that Britain could potentially act as a guarantor if any settlement is reached, and that Putin "didn't believe" the international community would impose the scale of sanctions that it has.

Liz Truss [Getty]
10:17 AM
The New Arab Staff

Shelling kills nine in outskirts of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia

Nine people were killed and 17 wounded in shelling of the suburbs of the city of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine on Friday, deputy mayor Anatoliy Kurtiev has said today.

The military has since declared a 38-hour curfew in Zaporizhzhia, which was being attacked by Russian forces with mortars, tanks, helicopters and rocket systems, Kurtiev said in an online post.

9:56 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine sees no major changes in fighting over past 24 hours, says official

Ukrainian authorities have not noticed any significant shifts over the past 24 hours in front line areas where Ukrainian troops are battling Russian forces, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych has said today.

In an online video address, he said fighting was ongoing and named the southeastern city of Mariupol, the southern cities of Mykolaiv and Kherson, and the eastern town of Izyum as particular hotspots where Russian troops were on the offensive.

9:40 AM
The New Arab Staff

Japan PM visits India for 'candid' talks on Ukraine

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was due in India today with officials in Tokyo predicting "candid discussions" about New Delhi's unwillingness to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Unlike fellow members of the Quad alliance Japan, Australia and the United States, India has abstained in three UN votes deploring Moscow's actions, calling only for a halt to the violence.

Ahead of Kishida's visit, the first by a Japanese prime minister since 2017, a foreign ministry official said Tokyo was "aware" of Delhi's historical ties to Russia and its geographical location.

"But at the same time we share fundamental values and strategic interests so naturally there will be candid discussions about how we view the Ukraine situation, and also expect to hear similar explanation from Prime Minister Modi," the official told reporters without wishing to be named.

Fumio Kishida [Getty]
9:23 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine hopes ten humanitarian corridors will operate today

Ukraine hopes to evacuate civilians today via ten humanitarian corridors from cities and towns on the front line of fighting with Russian forces, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

She said a corridor had been agreed for the besieged city of Mariupol, although the authorities' previous efforts to evacuate civilians there under a temporary ceasefire have mostly failed, with both sides trading blame.

Ukrainian refugees [Getty]
9:03 AM
The New Arab Staff

Russia uses advanced hypersonic missiles in Ukraine for the first time

Russia used its newest Kinzhal hypersonic missiles for the first time in Ukraine on Friday to destroy a weapons storage site in the country's west, the defence ministry said.

Russia has never before admitted using the high-precision weapon in combat, and state news agency RIA Novosti said it was the first use of the Kinzhal hypersonic weapons during the conflict in pro-Western Ukraine.

"The Kinzhal aviation missile system with hypersonic aeroballistic missiles destroyed a large underground warehouse containing missiles and aviation ammunition in the village of Deliatyn in the Ivano-Frankivsk region", the Russian defence ministry has said today.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has termed the Kinzhal (Dagger) missile "an ideal weapon" that flies at 10 times the speed of sound and can overcome air-defence systems.

The Kinzhal missile was one of an array of new weapons Putin unveiled in his state-of-the-nation address in 2018.

8:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

India's oil imports from US to rise, amid criticism for Russian purchases

India's oil imports from the United States will rise by 11% this year, officials have said today, as the severely energy-deficient country looks to secure supplies from producers around the world, including heavily sanctioned Russia.

The surge in oil prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine last month threatens to fan Indian inflation, stretch public finances and hurt growth just when it was emerging from a pandemic-induced slowdown.

New Delhi faces criticism from the West for its long-standing political and security ties with Moscow, with some saying that engaging in business with Russia will help fund its war. India has urged an end to the violence in Ukraine but abstained from voting against Russia.

8:39 AM
The New Arab Staff

Schlumberger suspends new investment and technology deployment to Russia operations

Schlumberger NV said late on Friday that it has decided to immediately suspend new investment and technology deployment to the company's Russia operations.

"We continue to actively monitor this dynamic situation and will fulfil any existing activity in full compliance with applicable international laws and sanctions," Chief Executive Officer Olivier Le Peuch said in a statement.

Schlumberger [Getty]
8:16 AM
The New Arab Staff

Russians in Mariupol

Russia's defence ministry said on Friday that the army and its separatist allies had made a breakthrough in Mariupol, which has been under Russian shelling for days, and were now inside the city.

"In Mariupol, units of the Donetsk People's Republic, with the support of the Russian armed forces, are squeezing the encirclement and fighting against nationalists in the city centre," the ministry said.

The mayor of the city confirmed to the BBC that gun battles had reached the heart of Mariupol.

On Friday rescuers were still searching for hundreds of people trapped under the wreckage of a bombed theatre there.

At the time of the attack, Mariupol's city council said that over 1,000 people were sheltering in the theatre's basement when it was hit on Wednesday.

Some 9,000 people had been evacuated from Mariupol.