Russia invades Ukraine: Mariupol evacuation delayed over Russian ceasefire violations

Russia invades Ukraine: Mariupol evacuation delayed over Russian ceasefire violations
Live Story
05 March, 2022

Officials in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, surrounded by Russian forces, have said they were delaying an evacuation of the civilian population, accusing Moscow's troops of breaking a ceasefire.

"Due to the fact that the Russian side does not adhere to the ceasefire and has continued shelling both of Mariupol itself and its environs and for security reasons, the evacuation of the civilian population has been postponed," city officials said in a statement on social media.

Mariupol, a southern city of about 450,000 people on the Azov Sea, was scheduled to begin the evacuations at 0900 GMT, after Russian forces agreed a ceasefire to allow civilians to leave the fighting.

"We ask all Mariupol residents to disperse and head to places where they can shelter. More information about the evacuation will be posted soon," municipal officials wrote.

"At the moment, negotiations are underway with Russia to establish a ceasefire and ensure a safe humanitarian corridor," the statement added.

Invading Russian forces have blockaded the strategic Ukrainian port city Mariupol, early on Saturday, as Moscow and Kyiv aimed to hold new talks over the weekend.

While laying siege to Mariupol for days, Russian forces also cut its electricity, food, water, heating and transportation in the depths of winter, prompting comparisons to the Nazi blockade of Leningrad in World War II.

Moscow has seized two key cities in its 10-day-long invasion, Berdiansk and Kherson on Ukraine's southern Black Sea coast.

But capturing Mariupol, a city of about 450,000 people on the Azov Sea, would represent a bigger prize for Russian forces as it would deal a severe blow to Ukraine's maritime access and connect troops coming from annexed Crimea and the Donbas.

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

Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for more.

6:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Our live coverage of the latest developments on Russia's invasion of Ukraine concludes for today.

The major developments from today:

Mariupol 'shelled' despite ceasefire

Officials in the besieged southeastern city of Mariupol accuse Russia of violating a ceasefire called to allow civilians trapped for days without power and water to leave.

In the face of "continued shelling", the evacuation has been "postponed", the officials say.

Russia's defence ministry accuses Ukrainian forces in Mariupol and the nearby town of Volnovakha, where a ceasefire was also declared, of blocking residents from leaving.

Nearing Kyiv

Russian forces inch closer to the capital Kyiv from the north but encounter stiff resistance along the way, including in the town of Chernihiv, where dozens of civilians are killed in shelling, missile attacks and air raids.

Putin warning to NATO

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Russia will consider itself at war with any country that seeks to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday appealed to NATO to set up a no-fly zone but NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has rejected the call, saying it could lead to a wider war in Europe.

More talks planned

One of Ukraine's negotiators says a third round of talks with Russia on ending the fighting is planned this weekend.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says Moscow is ready for dialogue over Ukraine if all its demands are met.

More than 1.37 million flee

More than 1.37 million people have fled Ukraine into neighbouring countries since Russia invaded last week, the UN says.

Hunger threat

The United Nations' World Food Programme warns about a looming food crisis in Ukraine in conflict areas, while disruptions in production and exports could lead to food insecurity globally.

Join us again tomorrow for the latest developments.

Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for more updates.

5:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine FM asks Blinken for jets, air defence systems

Ukraine's foreign minister told his US counterpart in a face-to-face meeting that his country needs fighter jets and air-defence systems and called NATO's refusal to implement no-fly zone over Ukraine a 'sign of weakness'.

"It's no secret that the highest demand that we have is in fighter jets, attack aircraft, and air-defence systems," Dmytro Kuleba said he told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in talks at the Ukraine-Poland border.

Dmytro Kuleba
5:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Shell to put profits from Russian oil trade into Ukraine aid fund

Oil major Royal Dutch Shell will put profits from any Russian oil it purchases into a fund that will go towards humanitarian aid to Ukraine, the company has said.

Shell had on Friday bought a cargo of Russian crude oil at a record low discount, the first such trade since Russia invaded Ukraine last week.

The deal, which did not violate Western sanctions on Moscow, was criticised by Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

"I am told Shell discreetly bought some Russian oil yesterday. One question to @Shell: doesn't Russian oil smell (of) Ukrainian blood for you?," Kuleba wrote in a tweet.

In a statement published shortly afterwards, Shell defended the purchase and said it would choose alternatives to Russian oil wherever possible, but this could not happen overnight because of how significant Russia is to global supply.

It added: "We didn't take this decision lightly and we understand the strength of feeling around it."

5:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel PM meets Putin at Kremlin for Ukraine talks

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held Kremlin talks with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president's second meeting with a foreign leader since his forces invaded Ukraine last week.

Bennett has so far not joined other foreign leaders in condemning the Russian offensive, stressing Israel's strong ties with both Moscow and Kyiv. Ukraine has previously asked Bennett to mediate.

A statement from Bennett's office said the premier "took off early this morning for Moscow, after speaking with President Putin last Wednesday."

An Israeli official said the Kremlin talks lasted three hours.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies that Putin and Bennett were "discussing the situation in Ukraine".

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held Kremlin talks with Vladimir Putin
5:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

France accuses UK of 'lack of humanity' on Ukraine refugees

France has accused Britain of an inadequate response and lacking humanity in assisting Ukrainian refugees who are seeking to join family in the UK from the French Channel port of Calais.

Hundreds of Ukrainians have come to Calais in the last days after fleeing the Russian invasion of their country hoping to join relatives already established in the UK.

The response of the UK is "completely unsuitable" and shows a "lack of humanity" towards refugees who are often "in distress", French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in a letter to British counterpart Priti Patel seen by AFP, urging London to set up a proper consular presence in Calais to issue visas.

Darmanin said that in the last days 400 Ukrainian refugees have presented themselves at Calais border crossings but some 150 of them were told go go away and obtain visas at UK consulates in Paris or Brussels.

France had said on Thursday that Britain would set up a pop-up visa centre in Calais to issue visas after Britain announced a family scheme to allow immediate and extended family members of Ukrainians settled in the UK to travel there.

"It is imperative that your consular representation, exceptionally and for the duration of this crisis, is able to issue visas for family reunification on the spot in Calais," said Darmanin.

He said it was "incomprehensible" that the UK was able to provide such services on the ground in Poland on the Ukrainian border but could not in the UK's closest neighbour France.

Gerald Darmanin [Getty]
4:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia calls on EU, NATO to stop arms supplies to Ukraine

Russia's foreign ministry has called on European Union and NATO countries to "stop pumping weapons" to Ukraine, the Russian RIA news agency said.

It said Moscow was particularly worried that portable anti-aerial Stinger missiles could end up in the hands of terrorists, posing a threat to airlines.

4:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Moscow, Kyiv to hold third round of talks on Monday

Talks between Moscow and Kyiv to seek a way to end the bloody conflict triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine will resume on Monday, Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia has said.

"The third round of negotiations will take place on Monday," Arakhamia, the parliamentary leader of President Volodymyr Zelensky's party and an envoy to the talks, said on his Facebook page.

4:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Puma suspends operation of all its stores in Russia

German sportswear maker Puma has decided to suspend operations at all its stores in Russia.

Puma, which has 100 stores in Russia, had already stopped deliveries to Russia following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

4:10 PM
The New Arab Staff

UK dockers refuse Russian oil, accuse sanction loophole

British dockers have refused to unload Russian oil from a tanker, calling for the government to close a "loophole" in sanctions allowing foreign-flagged ships to deliver the fuel.

The Seacod is currently moored near the Stanlow refinery in northwest England, and unions say its cargo is not covered by a ban on Russian vessels because it is German flagged.

UK sanctions introduced over the invasion of Ukraine ban all ships that are Russian owned, operated, controlled, registered or flagged from entering British ports.

Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham said that "due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Unite workers at the (Stanlow) facility will under no circumstances unload any Russian oil regardless of the nationality of the vessel."

"Unite urges the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to close this loophole immediately."

The refinery's operator, India's Essar, said it was "deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine and is fully complying with the statutory framework implemented by the UK government with regard to Russia-related entities".

3:50 PM
The New Arab Staff

More than 350 civilians confirmed killed in Ukraine so far, UN says

At least 351 civilians are confirmed to have been killed in Ukraine since Russian troops invaded on Feb. 24, and another 707 wounded, although the true numbers are probably "considerably higher", a UN monitoring mission has said.

Most of the civilian casualties were caused by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and from missile and air strikes, monitors from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said.

"OHCHR believes that the real figures are considerably higher, especially in Government-controlled territory and especially in recent days, as the receipt of information from some locations where intensive hostilities have been going on was delayed and many reports were still pending corroboration," it said.

The mission said hundreds of civilian casualties alleged in the town of Volnovakha - where attempts were under way to open a safe evacuation corridor through encircling Russian forces - were yet to be corroborated.

3:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

US approves Moscow-chartered flight to remove expelled Russian diplomats

The United States has approved a flight chartered by the Russian government to fly out Russian diplomats at the United Nations who were expelled for abuse of their privileges of residence, a State Department spokesperson has said.

"This special exception was done in accordance with federal regulations to ensure Russian mission personnel and their families departed by the date we had instructed," the spokesperson said.

3:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Germany to build LNG terminal to reduce Russian gas reliance

Germany has said it would build a liquefied natural gas terminal on its North Sea coast, as it seeks to reduce its reliance on Russian gas imports after the invasion of Ukraine.

"It is necessary to reduce our dependence on Russian gas as quickly as possible" in light of Moscow's aggression, Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said in a statement.

Germany was financing the project in Brunsbuettel, northern Germany, via the public lender KfW, together with the state-owned Dutch gas company Gasunie and German energy group RWE.

The process of liquefaction makes LNG easier to transport, allowing it to be imported by sea from producer countries that cannot be connected by pipelines, such as the United States or Qatar.

Before the outbreak of war, Germany imported 55 percent of its gas from Russia, via pipelines running through Ukraine, Poland and under the Baltic Sea.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine forced a strategic reassessment in Berlin, with Germany hoping to substitute Russian gas supplies with LNG.

2:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Any countries imposing no-fly zone over Ukraine party to conflict: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that any country that sought to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be considered by Moscow to have entered the conflict.

"Any movement in this direction will be considered by us as participation in an armed conflict by that country," the Russian leader said during a meeting with Aeroflot employees.

He added that imposing a no-fly zone would have "colossal and catastrophic consequences not only for Europe but also the whole world".

Putin also dismissed rumours that Russia is planning to declare martial law with his country's military incursion in Ukraine in its second week. 

"Martial law should only be introduced in cases where there is external aggression ... we are not experiencing that at the moment and I hope we won't," Putin said. 

Putin also dismissed rumours that Russia is planning to declare martial law
1:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

Italy's public TV RAI says suspends reporting from Russia

Italy's public television channel RAI has suspended reporting from Russia after Moscow backed the imposition of jail terms on media publishing "false information" about the military.

The channel is the latest broadcaster to halt work from Russia after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

"Following the approval of the law which gives heavy sentences for publishing information considered false by the authorities, RAI is suspending from today the journalistic services of its own reporters and correspondents in the Russian Federation," the RAI channel said.

"This measure is necessary in order to protect the security of the journalists on the ground and for the greatest possible freedom in (sharing) information about this country," it added in a statement.

1:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia in talks with aircraft leasing firms over sanctions

The Russian government is in talks with aircraft leasing companies to resolve potential issues linked to Western sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has said.

Earlier, Russia's state aviation authority recommended Russian airlines with foreign-leased aircraft to suspend flights of passengers and cargo abroad from Russia from March 6 and from foreign countries to Russia starting on March 8 to prevent their possible seizure.

1:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Italy seizes $156 million in oligarch wealth, pressing Putin

European governments are moving against Russian oligarchs to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to back down on his war in Ukraine, seizing superyachts and other luxury properties from billionaires on sanctions lists.

Italy since Friday has seized 143 million euros ($156 million) in luxury yachts and villas in some of its most picturesque destinations, including Sardinia, the Ligurian coast and Lake Como.

"We must be able to stop Putin’s attack, bringing him to the table, and he won’t go with niceties," Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told Italian state TV on Friday, announcing Italy’s plans to begin the seizures of property belonging to oligarchs close to Putin.

Italian financial police moved quickly seizing the superyacht “Lena" belonging to Gennady Timchenko, an oligarch close to Putin, in the port of San Remo; the 65-meter (215-foot) “Lady M” owned by Alexei Mordashov in nearby Imperia, estimated to be worth 65 million euros; as well as villas in Tuscany and Como.

The villa of Russian-Uzbek business magnate Alisher Usmanov was seized along the tony Emerald Coast in northern Sardinia, long the playground of the world’s wealthiest, the Italian news agency LaPresse reported.

German officials this week denied reports that it had seized Usmanov's yacht in the port of Hamburg. According to the British government, he also owns Beechwood House in Highgate, worth an estimated 48 million pounds, and the 16th-century Sutton Place estate in Surrey.

Activists say that going after the oligarchs is tantamount to going after Putin.

12:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

London Ukraine demo demands 'Stop Putin, stop the war'

Hundreds of people protested in London demanding an end to Russia's devastating invasion of Ukraine, praying for peace amid a host of blue and yellow national flags.

The large crowd gathered on the central Trafalgar Square, singing the national anthem while draped in Ukrainian flags and calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a "terrorist".

"When the last Ukrainian soldier falls, Putin will come for you ladies and gents," read a giant banner.

"I'm Ukrainian and I still have some family and friends in Ukraine," said Olena Marcyniuk, 36, at the protest with her children aged 14 months and nine years.

"We need to keep on reminding everyone, we need to stay united to support our country," she told AFP, with a Ukrainian flag around her waist and on her pram.

"Maybe somehow (we can) get through to Russia as well that the world is for Ukraine and that it needs to start acting to stop the war."

She said much of her family had fled but that her uncle stayed in Kyiv to "fight for the city".

Papal nuncio to Great Britain Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti led a prayer, saying "Today we are all Ukrainians."

"Stop Putin, stop the war," read a placard.

Protest placards tied to railings outside the Russian Embassy in London
12:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine puts off evacuation of Mariupol

The Ukrainian port city of Mariupol delayed a planned evacuation of residents, blaming Russian forces for breaking their temporary ceasefire to allow civilians to flee one of the war's fiercest battles.

Russia has besieged the strategic city, which proudly resisted Moscow-backed rebels during a 2014 conflict, cutting off electricity, food and water in the dead of winter.

"Due to the fact that the Russian side does not adhere to the ceasefire and has continued shelling both Mariupol itself and its environs, and for security reasons, the evacuation of the civilian population has been postponed," city officials said in a statement posted on social media.

Civilians who gathered to leave were told to return to shelters.

Negotiations were underway "to establish a ceasefire and ensure a safe humanitarian corridor", Mariupol authorities added.

After Russia's defence ministry declared a ceasefire to allow humanitarian corridors out of Mariupol and neighbouring Volnovakha, officials announced that the port city's 450,000-strong population could begin to leave by bus and private cars.

Mariupol mayor Vadim Boychenko said: "This is not an easy decision, but ... Mariupol is not its streets or houses. Mariupol is its population, it is you and me."

An aid worker in Mariupol for Doctors Without Borders said: "Last night the shelling was harder and closer. We collected snow and rain water yesterday... We tried to get free water today but the queue was huge."

11:48 AM
The New Arab Staff

Number of Ukraine refugees could grow to 1.5 million this weekend, UNHCR says

The situation in Ukraine remains dire and the number of refugees fleeing the Russian invasion could potentially rise to 1.5 million by the end of the weekend from a current 1.3 million, the head of the UN refugee agency has said.

"This is the fastest moving refugee crisis we have seen in Europe since the end of World War Two," UNHCR head Filippo Grandi told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Grandi also said most refugees at the moment were linking up with friends, family and other connections already living in Europe, but warned future waves would be more complex.

Refugees arrive at the Hungarian border town of Zahony on a train [Getty]
11:23 AM
The New Arab Staff

Athens evacuates more Greeks from Ukraine

Athens evacuated Greek expatriates and citizens from Odessa to Moldova, Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias has said.

"The operation Nostos 4 for the evacuation of 25 people from Odessa was successfully completed", Dendias said in a tweet adding that the evacuees who were accompanied by the General Consul of Greece in Odessa, Dimitris Dohtsis, passed the Ukrainian-Moldavian border.

According to Athens News Agency quoting diplomatic sources, among the evacuees, nine are members of the crew of a Greek-owned ship stranded at the port of Odessa since the beginning of the war.

On Friday, a convoy of 21 cars with over 80 people that had left Mariupol on Wednesday arrived in Budapest.

A group of 26 Greeks and family members were relocated from Odessa to Moldova on Monday, and another 50 Greeks and Cypriots from Kyiv and Odessa were flown out of Romania with their families on Tuesday, according to the Greek Foreign Ministry.

The Greek migration ministry said on Saturday that from the beginning of the war in Ukraine, 3,155 people have fled to Greece. Among them, 906 are minors.

11:03 AM
The New Arab Staff

Blinken arrives in Poland near border with Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Poland for talks with officials as hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees pour into the country to escape the conflict.

The most senior US official to visit Poland since the war began, Blinken will hold talks with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau in Rzeszow, near the border with Ukraine.

More than 780,000 people have fled Ukraine into Poland since the invasion began on February 24.

Including other neighbouring countries, more than a million have left Ukraine.

Blinken is visiting key allies in Europe that are feeling the pressure from the war, to demonstrate Washington's support for their security and shore up Western unity against Moscow.

Following his stop in Poland he will travel to Moldova, which has also experienced an inflow of Ukrainians, and the three Baltic states which are particularly concerned by Russian actions.

Blinken spent Friday in Brussels in meetings with counterparts at NATO and the European Union to discuss putting more pressure on Russia and add support for refugees.

"The Kremlin's attacks are inflicting an ever increasing toll on civilians there. Hundreds if not thousands of Ukrainians have been killed, many more wounded," he said in Brussels Thursday.

"More than a million refugees have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries," he said, pledging more support from Washington.

Blinken is visiting key allies in Europe
10:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine says Mariupol evacuation delayed over Russian ceasefire violations

Mariupol’s city council has said Russian forces were not observing an agreed ceasefire along the entire length of a planned route for the evacuation of civilians.

"We are negotiating with the Russian side to confirm the ceasefire along the entire evacuation route," it said in a statement.

The route of the corridor is Mariupol - Nikolske - Rozivka - Polohy - Orikhiv - Zaporizhzhia.

Authorities had previously urged civilians to leave, with mayor Vadim Boichenko saying on Telegram: "When our home city is constantly under the ruthless fire of the occupiers there is no choice other than to allow residents – us – to leave Mariupol safely."

9:50 AM
The New Arab Staff

Turkey's Erdogan to speak to Russia's Putin on Sunday

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will speak to Vladimir Putin by phone on Sunday to discuss Russia's war in Ukraine, spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said, adding Turkey was ready to help resolve the crisis.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul on Saturday, Kalin said Erdogan would reiterate that offer to Putin and ask him to "give a chance" to a humanitarian ceasefire and set up humanitarian corridors needed for civilian evacuations and aid shipments.

"Our president's message is for the war and the attacks to be stopped immediately, for talks to start by coming together at an appropriate basis and give diplomacy a chance," Kalin said.

It was important that Russia had a reliable counterpart to speak to as the West "burned bridges" with it, Kalin said, adding that Ankara would not abandon ties with either Russia or Ukraine.

Kalin also said attacks on or near nuclear power plants in Ukraine were "playing with fire" and that Erdogan would also hold talks with other leaders on Saturday, including Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Union officials.

NATO member Turkey shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and has good ties to both, but opposes sanctions on Moscow.

Ankara has called the invasion unacceptable and offered to host peace talks, while calling for a ceasefire.

Erdogan will speak to Vladimir Putin by phone on Sunday
9:35 AM
The New Arab Staff

Britain urges its nationals to consider leaving Russia

Britain has urged its nationals to consider leaving Russia after Moscow's decision to invade Ukraine.

"If your presence in Russia is not essential, we strongly advise that you consider leaving by remaining commercial routes," the British government said in a statement.

On Monday, Britain advised its citizens against all travel to Russia due to a lack of available flight options and increased economic volatility. 

9:25 AM
The New Arab Staff

UK to streamline sanctioning Russian oligarchs

Britain is to make it easier to sanction Russian oligarchs and align those sanctions with the European Union and the US over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, the government has said.

The UK has been criticised for not doing enough to clamp down on oligarchs' ill-gotten gains which are frequently invested in luxury real estate in London, a popular destination.

Amendments will be introduced to the Economic Crimes bill, which the government now wants to be passed by the lower House of Commons on Monday, "to crack down on corrupt elites and ramp up pressure on (President Vladimir) Putin's regime", a statement said.

The amendments will "allow us to move harder and faster" with sanctions, Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen said on Saturday.

"What we're trying to do is make it more straightforward to get a legal basis to move on these individuals. We believe that these changes will make that difference," Glen told BBC radio.

"In this situation, we need to look at how we can expedite these decisions more swiftly."

9:10 AM
The New Arab Staff

Zara owner Inditex halts trading in Russia, closing stores and online platform

Spanish fashion retailer Inditex has halted trading in Russia, closing its 502 shops and stopping online sales, the company said in a statement to the Spanish regulator.

"In the current circumstances Inditex cannot guarantee the continuity of the operations and commercial conditions in the Russian Federation and temporarily suspends its activity", the Zara owner company said.

Russia accounts for around 8.5% of the group's global EBIT, Inditex added. 

9:00 AM
The New Arab Staff

Formula One team Haas drops Russian driver Nikita Mazepin: Haas

Formula One team Haas has announced they have dropped Russian driver Nikita Mazepin and terminated their contract with title sponsor Uralkali due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Haas F1 team has elected to terminate with immediate effect, the title partnership of Uralkali, and the driver contract of Nikita Mazepin," the team said in a statement on their website.

Nikita Mazepin [Getty]
8:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

Russian central bank allows exporters not to sell FX earnings on March 5

Russia's central bank told the country's exporters they need not sell foreign currency earnings as the Moscow Exchange is closed.

Russia told companies on February 28 they must convert 80% of their foreign currency revenues on the domestic market, part of measures to support the rouble currency after Western countries imposed sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

8:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

PayPal shuts down its services in Russia

Payments company PayPal Holdings Inc shut down its services early on Saturday in Russia, citing "the current circumstances," joining many financial and tech companies in suspending operations there after the invasion of Ukraine.

"Under the current circumstances, we are suspending PayPal services in Russia," President and Chief Executive Dan Schulman said in a statement.

He added that the company "stands with the international community in condemning Russia's violent military aggression in Ukraine."

A company spokesperson said PayPal will support withdrawals "for a period of time, ensuring that account balances are dispersed in line with applicable laws and regulations".

PayPal, which had only allowed cross-border transactions by users in Russia, stopped accepting new users in the country on Wednesday.

PayPal said on Friday that "since the beginning of the invasion, PayPal has helped raise over $150 million for charities supporting response efforts in Ukraine, one of the largest efforts we've seen in such a short period of time".

Paypal joins many financial and tech companies in suspending operations in Russia
8:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

European Union suspends Russia and Belarus from Council of Baltic Sea States

The European Union has said it had joined members of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) in suspending Russia and Belarus from the Council's activities.

"This decision is a part of the European Union’s and like-minded partners response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the involvement of Belarus in this unprovoked and unjustified aggression," it said on Saturday.

"The EU agrees with the other members of the CBSS (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden) that the suspension of Russia and Belarus will remain in force until it is possible to resume cooperation based on respect for fundamental principles of international law," it added.

7:59 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine port city Mariupol to begin evacuations at 0900 GMT

Civilians will start being evacuated from the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, city officials said, after surrounding Russian forces announced a ceasefire to allow its population to leave.

Mariupol, a southern city of about 450,000 people on the Azov Sea, will begin evacuations at 0900 GMT, city hall announced on social media in a message that added that: "it will be possible to leave the city by private transport."

7:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

Russia reports ceasefire in 2 Ukraine areas for evacuations

The Russian military is observing a ceasefire in two areas of Ukraine to allow civilians to evacuate, Russian state media reported, but there was no immediate confirmation from Ukraine.

It would be the first breakthrough in allowing civilians to escape the war.

The Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement that it had agreed on evacuation routes with Ukrainian forces to allow civilians to leave the strategic port of Mariupol in the southeast and the eastern town of Volnovakha "from 10 a.m. Moscow time". 

The vaguely worded statement did not make clear how long the routes would remain open.

The head of Ukraine’s security council, Oleksiy Danilov, had called on Russia to create humanitarian corridors to allow children, women and the older adults to get away from the fighting, calling such corridors "question No. 1."

7:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

Zelensky condemns NATO for ruling out Ukraine no-fly zone

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lashed NATO late on Friday for ruling out a no-fly zone over his country, saying the Western military alliance knew further Russian aggression was likely.

"Knowing that new strikes and casualties are inevitable, NATO deliberately decided not to close the sky over Ukraine," Zelensky said in a video published by the presidency.

"We believe that the NATO countries themselves have created a narrative that the closing of the skies over Ukraine would provoke direct Russian aggression against NATO."

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg had said the alliance would not intervene in the conflict over fears of a direct clash with Moscow that could spiral into a wider conflict.

"All the people who die starting today will also die because of you. Because of your weakness, because of your disconnection," Zelensky said in the address.

"Today the leadership of the alliance gave the green light for further bombing of Ukrainian cities and villages, refusing to make a no-fly zone."

Volodymyr Zelensky lashed out at NATO [Getty]


The New Arab Staff