Ukraine live updates: Zelensky denounces Russia as ‘terrorist state

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Johnson ‘fears’ Putin will use chemical weapons in Ukraine

Boris Johnson predicts Vladimir Putin is preparing to deploy chemical weapons in Ukraine.

The British PM made the statement regarding Russia’s “cynical and barbaric” government after the Kremlin claimed that the U.S. was running chemical and biological labs in Ukraine.

He told Sky News: “The stuff that you’re hearing about chemical weapons is straight out of [the Russian] playbook.

“They start saying that there are chemical weapons stored by their opponents, or by Americans. So when they, themselves, deploy chemical weapons – as I fear they may – they have a fake story ready to go.”

Two million people have fled Kyiv – around half its population, the city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

Despite the mass exodus of the city that Russian troops have so far failed to capture, he insisted it was still safe.

Mr Klitschko said: “Kyiv has been transformed into a fortress. Every street, every building, every checkpoint has been fortified.”

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US, allies to revoke ‘most favored nation’ status for Russia

The United States, and its allies from the European Union and the Group of Seven countries are set to revoke the “most favoured nation” trade status for Russia after it invaded a sovereign Ukraine.

The move is likely to be announced by president Joe Biden today, as Washington yields to bipartisan pressure to revoke what is formally known as “permanent normal trade relations” with Moscow.

Once revoked, the removal of status would allow the US and its allies to impose tariffs on Russian imports, which are not imposed on the “most favoured nation”.

Arpan Rai11 March 2022 03:36

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US Senate clears $13.6 billion for Ukraine aid

The US Senate has approved legislation of $13.6 billion in Ukraine aid to help the country under conflict to fight against Russian invasion.

The senate also cleared a legislation worth $1.5 trillion to avert federal government shutdowns, which will keep the administration operating beyond this week.

The bill is now set to go to president Joe Biden for signing it into a law.

Arpan Rai11 March 2022 03:36

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China’s premier says important to back Russia, Ukraine in talks

Chinese premier Li Keqiang said it is important to support Russia and Ukraine in their ceasefire talks, adding that China is deeply concerned.

The premier said expressed hope that the situation in Ukraine improves and that peace returns to the besieged country soon.

He also called for restraint and urged that there is a pressing need to stop the tensions from spiralling out of control.

Arpan Rai11 March 2022 02:59

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Millions flee Kyiv as Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis exacerbates

Close to two million people have left Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, officials said on Thursday, as the city braced for a bloody battle to prevent its capture from Russian troops.

With nearly two million fleeing the city, its peacetime populations appears to have been approximately halved.

The total number of refugees from Ukraine could reach four million soon, experts monitoring the humanitarian crisis said.

Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said every street and every house is being fortified.

“Even people who in their lives never intended to change their clothes, now they are in uniform with machine guns in their hands,” the mayor said.

The Independent’s David Harding reports on this here:

Arpan Rai11 March 2022 02:46

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SpaceX launch director jabs Russian space chief with ‘sound of freedom’

One Wednesday morning, SpaceX let a Falcon 9 rocket fly — right after letting loose a verbal barb at the controversial head of the Russian space program.

At around 14 minutes and 16 seconds into the video of the launch, SpaceX launch director Julia Black can be heard giving a colourful final approval for launch, saying “Time to let the American broomstick fly and hear the sounds of freedom.”

Jon Kelvey has the full report here:

Arpan Rai11 March 2022 02:40

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Miles-long Russian convoy outside Kyiv breaks up, redeployed

A massive armoured Russian convoy of military tanks and artillery headed for Kyiv appears to have dispersed and sent in other parts of Ukraine, satellite photos show.

The 40-mile (64 kilometres) long column of vehicles, tanks and artillery has broken up and redeployed as many armoured units have been spotted near the Antonov airport in the north of the city.

Some of the vehicles have been seen in the nearby forests of Ukraine, Maxar reported.

First seen moving towards Kyiv in February end, the convoy of tanks and heavy military weaponry had slowed down and stalled 30 miles outside the city.

This had sparked fears of food and fuel shortage among the Russian troops driving, even potentially threatening to their lives, as experts said that the Russian soldiers could “freeze to death” inside the tanks.

According to the US officials, the convoy came under anti-tank missiles from the Ukrainian troops.

Arpan Rai11 March 2022 02:36

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Russia bombs Kharkiv institute with nuclear reactor

Russian troops have attacked the Kharkiv institute of physics and technology, officials from the Ukraine parliament confirmed, adding that the fighting close to the building was continuing.

The institute, which houses an experimental nuclear reactor, was struck, said the state inspectorate for nuclear regulation of Ukraine.

Exterior of the building and possible numerous labs were damaged in the bombing, officials from the state said.

Arpan Rai11 March 2022 02:16

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WHO asked Ukraine to destroy pathogens in labs

The World Health Organisation has said it advised Ukraine to destruct all high-threat pathogens in its country’s public health laboratories to prevent “any potential spills” that could spark disease outbreaks among the population.

“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 said, without specifying the date and time of the advisory.

Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, now in its 16th day, has raised the risk of a release of disease-causing-pathogens if any of the labs are damaged.

Arpan Rai11 March 2022 02:06

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Kamala Harris calls for Russia war crimes probe as she meets displaced Ukrainians in Poland

Vice President Kamala Harris met with multiple heads of state and sought to smooth out tensions between the United States and Poland on the first day of a trip to Eastern Europe on Thursday.

Ms Harris traveled to Warsaw as part of a two-day trip and will head to Romania on Friday as a show of solidarity with two of Ukraine’s neighbours amid Vladimir Putin’s assault on the country. The vice president first met with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and President Andzrej Duda. Later in the day, she met refugees from Ukraine and the US embassy in Ukraine’s staff before she met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was also in Warsaw.

Eric Garcia has the story for The Independent.

Graeme Massie11 March 2022 01:47

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Ukrainian president denounces Russia as ‘terrorist state’

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has denounced Russia as a “terrorist state” in his latest TV address to his embattled nation.

Ukrainian officials say that not a single civilian was able to leave the encircled Ukrainian city of Mariupol on Thursday as Russian forces failed to respect a temporary ceasefire to allow evacuations.

And efforts to get water, food and medicine into the city also failed when Russian tanks attacked a humanitarian corridor.

“This is outright terror … from experienced terrorists,” he said.

“The world needs to know this. I have to admit it – we are all dealing with a terrorist state.”

He added that Ukrainian authorities had managed to evacuate almost 40,000 people on Thursday from five other cities.

Russian officials say they will declare a ceasefire on Friday to open humanitarian corridors to Mariupol, Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Chernihiv.

(AP)

Graeme Massie11 March 2022 01:22

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