LIVE Russia-Ukraine crisis: US bans Russian oil imports over attack

Pentagon estimates 2,000 to 4,000 Russian soldiers already killed



US President Joe Biden announces a ban on US imports of Russian oil and gas, March 8, 2022, from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP
US President Joe Biden announces a ban on US imports of Russian oil and gas, March 8, 2022, from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

By Team KT

Published: Tue 8 Mar 2022, 7:29 AM

Last updated: Wed 9 Mar 2022, 12:32 AM

The Russian military assault on Ukraine is on its 13th day.

The biggest attack on a European state since World War Two, has created 1.7 million refugees, a raft of sanctions on Moscow, and fears of wider conflict in the West unthought-of for decades.

Sieges and the bombing continued as Kyiv rejected possible humanitarian corridors to Russia and Belarus, but said some limited progress had been made on agreeing logistics for the evacuation of civilians.

Death tolls cannot be verified, but footage filmed across Ukraine shows burnt-out wreckage of Russian tanks and armour, and parts of Ukrainian cities reduced to rubble by Russian strikes.

A Western ban on Russian oil imports may more than double the price to $300 a barrel and prompt the closure of the main gas pipeline to Germany, Moscow warned on Monday, as talks on Ukraine hardly advanced amid efforts to agree on civilian safe passage.

Here's the latest of all top developments on March 8


11:57pm: First civilians evacuated from Ukraine’s Sumy arrive at destination

The first convoy carrying civilians from Sumy in northern Ukraine arrived via a humanitarian corridor in the central city of Poltava, Ukraine’s presidency said late on Tuesday.

“The first column of 22 buses has already arrived in Poltava,” the president’s deputy chief of staff Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on Telegram, adding that 1,100 foreign students would travel onwards by train to Lviv in Western Ukraine.


11:55pm: Russia ready to open human corridors from five Ukrainian cities

AFP
AFP

Russian forces will stop firing from 10 a.m. Moscow time (0700 GMT) on Wednesday and are ready to provide humanitarian corridors so people can leave Kyiv and four other cities, Tass news agency cited a senior Russian official as saying on Tuesday.

Information about corridors from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol will be sent to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, said Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the Russian National Defence Control Centre.

Vereshchuk said earlier on Tuesday that authorities had once again not been able to evacuate civilians from Mariupol.


10:30pm: Poland ready to place all its MIG-29 jets at the disposal of U.S.

Poland is ready to deploy all its MIG-29 jets to Ramstein Air Base in Germany and put them at the disposal of the United States, and urges other NATO members that own planes of that type to do the same, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

U.S. lawmakers pushed President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday to facilitate the transfer of fighter aircraft to Ukraine from Poland and other NATO and Eastern European countries, after a plea on Saturday from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

“The authorities of the Republic of Poland...are ready to deploy — immediately and free of charge — all their MIG-29 jets to the Ramstein Air Base and place them at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America,” the ministry said.


10:14pm: Nearly 3,500 were evacuated from Ukraine’s Sumy city on Tuesday

Nearly 3,500 civilians were evacuated from the northern Ukrainian city of Sumy on Tuesday under a temporary ceasefire that mostly held, said regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky in a televised interview.

Around 1,700 of the evacuees were foreign students studying at universities in Sumy, he said, adding the ceasefire was broken once by a shooting near a checkpoint.


9:23pm: Ukraine president echoes Churchill in defiant speech to UK MPs

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, invoking the wartime defiance of British prime minister Winston Churchill, vowed Tuesday to “fight to the end” in a historic virtual speech to UK lawmakers.

“We will not give up and we will not lose. We will fight to the end, at sea, in the air. We will continue fighting for our land, whatever the cost, in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets,” he said.

More details here

9:20pm: McDonald’s says closing all restaurants in Russia

Fast-food giant McDonald’s said Tuesday it was closing its 850 restaurants in Russia, joining a growing tide of companies pulling out of the country following the attack on Ukraine.

“We cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine,” the company said in a statement.

“McDonald’s has decided to temporarily close all our restaurants in Russia and pause all operations in the market.”

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8:31pm: US bans Russian oil imports over attack, Biden says

U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a U.S. ban on Russian oil and other energy imports, ramping up a pressure campaign on Moscow in retaliation for the attack on Ukraine.

Biden said that the war in Ukraine would “never be a victory” for President Vladimir Putin as global outrage mounts over the plight of civilians caught up in the Russian attack.

“Russia may continue to grind out its advance at a horrible price but this much is already clear — Ukraine will never be a victory for Putin."

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8:29pm: UK to phase out Russian oil imports by end of 2022

Britain said Tuesday it would phase out Russian oil imports by the end of this year, in line with an expected announcement by the United States following the attack on Ukraine.

“This transition will give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports — which make up 8.0 percent of UK demand,” Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng tweeted.

More details here


8:22pm: Putin, Israel’s Bennett discuss Ukraine by phone

mena, europe, israel, russia, russia-ukraine crisis, naftali bennett, vladimir putin
mena, europe, israel, russia, russia-ukraine crisis, naftali bennett, vladimir putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the conflict in Ukraine by telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday, the Kremlin said.

In a readout of the call, the Kremlin said Putin had told Bennett about Moscow’s assessment of the third round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials that took place on Monday.


8:05pm: Two million Ukraine refugees reach EU

The European Union has taken in two million refugees fleeing Russia's attack on Ukraine and millions more will follow, the bloc's top migration official said on Tuesday.

Russian forces have subjected a number of Ukrainian cities and towns to devastating bombardment and left places like the port of Mariupol without power or water for days, putting to flight hundreds of thousands in the country of 44 million people.


8pm: Russia says Kyiv declined to endorse evacuation routes towards Ukraine

Moscow said on Tuesday that Ukrainian authorities had endorsed only one civilian evacuation route from areas affected by fighting out of 10 that were proposed, including five towards territory controlled by Kyiv, the Interfax news agency reported.

The Russian defence ministry said 723 people had been evacuated through the Sumy-Poltava corridor, including 576 Indian nationals, in a first convoy.

Ukraine said on Monday that a Russian proposal on humanitarian corridors was “completely immoral” after Moscow suggested it would allow people to flee Ukrainian cities towards only Belarus or Russia.


7:55pm: People flee embattled Ukraine city

People flee the city of Irpin, west of Kyiv, on March 7, 2022. Photo: AFP
People flee the city of Irpin, west of Kyiv, on March 7, 2022. Photo: AFP

Buses carried civilians out of an embattled Ukrainian city Tuesday along a safe corridor agreed to by the two warring sides, while a parallel effort to relieve the besieged port of Mariupol was thrown into jeopardy by reports of renewed Russian shelling.

Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II grew even more severe, with U.N. officials reporting that 2 million people have now fled Ukraine.

Moscow’s forces have besieged Ukrainian cities and cut off food, water, heat and medicine in a growing humanitarian crisis. But for days, attempts to create corridors to safely evacuate civilians have stumbled amid continuing fighting and objections to the proposed routes.

Buses emblazoned with red cross symbols carried water, medicine and food toward the encircled southern port of Mariupol, scene of some of the worst desperation. Vereshchuk said the vehicles would then ferry civilians out of the city of 430,000 people.


7:48pm: 2,000 to 4,000 Russian soldiers already killed

An Ukrainian tank rolls along a main road on March 8, 2022. Photo: AFP
An Ukrainian tank rolls along a main road on March 8, 2022. Photo: AFP

The US Defense Department told lawmakers Tuesday it estimates between 2,000 and 4,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in Moscow’s nearly two-week-old attack on Ukraine.

Asked at a House Intelligence Committee hearing how many Russian troops have died to date in the military operation, Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, said “somewhere between two (thousand) and 4,000.”


7:40pm: Russia underestimated Ukraine’s resistance

President Joe Biden’s top intelligence official said Tuesday the U.S. believes Russia underestimated the strength of Ukraine’s resistance before launching an attack that has likely caused thousands of Russian casualties.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told a congressional panel that U.S. officials believe Russian President Vladimir Putin feels “aggrieved” by Russia’s failure to subdue Ukraine and that he perceives that he cannot afford to lose the war. But what Putin might consider a victory could change given the escalating costs of the conflict to Russia, Haines said.


5.47pm: White House is likely to ban oil imports from Russia

The White House is likely to ban Russian oil imports and is working closely with European allies on the issue, Democratic US Senator Chris Coons said on Tuesday.

More details here


4:54pm: India starts evacuating its citizens from Sumy to Poltava

India on Tuesday started evacuating its stranded citizens from Ukraine’s Sumy to Poltava under Operation Ganga after the announcement of Russian ceasefire today from 10 am (Moscow time) for providing humanitarian corridors in the cities of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol.

More details here

4.26pm: Ukraine says 400 civilian deaths recorded

AFP
AFP

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has released new estimates of casualties and damage from the Russian war, saying Russian military actions have killed 38 children and wounded more than 70.

Overall at least 400 civilian deaths have been recorded and 800 wounded, though “these data are definitely incomplete,” he said in a video address.

It was not immediately possible to verify the figures.

He said Russian strikes have destroyed more than 200 Ukrainian schools, 34 hospitals and 1,500 residential buildings.

He estimated some 10,000 foreign students, notably from India, China and the Arabian Gulf are trapped by the fighting, and described attacks on British and Swiss journalists.

He claimed that Ukrainian forces have killed more than 11,000 Russian troops.

“Russian invaders fire on humanitarian corridors through which civilians are trying to escape,” he said, without saying where.

Russian officials did not comment Tuesday and have only acknowledged several hundred deaths among Russian forces.


3.41pm: Shell says it will stop buying Russian oil, natural gas

Energy giant Shell said Tuesday that it will stop buying Russian oil and natural gas and shut down its service stations, aviation fuels and other operations in the country amid international pressure for companies to sever ties over the attack on Ukraine.

The company said in a statement that it would withdraw from all Russian hydrocarbons, including crude oil, petroleum products, natural gas and liquefied natural gas, “in a phased manner.”

The decision comes just days after Ukraine’s foreign minister criticized Shell for continuing to buy Russian oil, lashing out at the company for continuing to do business with President Vladimir Putin’s government.

“We are acutely aware that our decision last week to purchase a cargo of Russian crude oil to be refined into products like petrol and diesel — despite being made with security of supplies at the forefront of our thinking — was not the right one and we are sorry,” CEO Ben van Beurden said. “As we have already said, we will commit profits from the limited, remaining amounts of Russian oil we will process to a dedicated fund.”


2.46pm: People flee embattled Ukrainian cities along safe corridors

Previous attempts to lead civilians to safety have crumbled with renewed attacks. But on Tuesday, video posted by Ukrainian officials showed buses with people moving along a snowy road from the eastern city of Sumy and yellow buses with a red cross on them in southern port of Mariupol.

It was not clear how long the effort would last.

“The Ukrainian city of Sumy was given a green corridor, the first stage of evacuation began,” the Ukrainian state communications agency tweeted.

Those buses are headed to other cities in Ukraine, but many people have chosen to flee the country instead. Safa Msehli, a spokesperson for the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration, tweeted that 2 million have now left, including at least 100,000 people who are not Ukrainian.


2.00pm: Number of refugees fleeing from hits 2 million, UN says

UN refugee chief says the number of people fleeing Russia’s advance into Ukraine has reached 2 million.


12:15pm: Ukraine starts evacuating civilians from Sumy and Irpin

Ukraine began evacuating civilians from the northeastern city of Sumy and from the town of Irpin near the capital Kyiv on Tuesday, Ukrainian officials said.

The evacuations began after Russian and Ukrainian officials agreed to establish "humanitarian corridors" to allow civilians out of some towns and cities besieged by Russian forces.

"As of 9:30am (0730 GMT), more than 150 people have been evacuated and (evacuation) activities are underway," said Oleksiy Kuleba, governor of the Kyiv region.

Civilians have been trapped by fighting since Russian troops attacked Ukraine on February 24. Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation."

Russia opened humanitarian corridors on Tuesday so that people can be evacuated from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol, the Interfax news agency quoted the Russian defence ministry as saying.

The defence ministry added that Russian forces in Ukraine had introduced a "silent regime" from 0700 GMT, Interfax reported.

Ukraine on Monday rejected Russian proposals to evacuate Ukrainians to Russia or Belarus.


11.15am: ‘Humanitarian corridor’ set to allow civilians out of Ukraine’s Sumy

Civilians will start leaving the besieged Ukrainian city of Sumy on Tuesday under an agreement with Russia on the establishment of a “humanitarian corridor”, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

It has been agreed that the first convoy will start at 10 a.m. (0800 GMT) from the city of Sumy. The convoy will be followed by the local population in personal vehicles


10.50am: Pakistan sends plane to evacuate 300 who fled fighting

Pakistan sent an aircraft to Poland on Tuesday to evacuate more than 300 Pakistanis who escaped fighting in Ukraine.

Pakistan International Airlines says most of them are students.


10.15am: Russia dangles prospect of safe corridors; Ukraine skeptical

Safe corridors intended to let Ukrainian civilians escape the Russian onslaught could open Tuesday, Kremlin officials said, though Ukrainian leaders greeted the plan with skepticism since prior efforts to establish evacuation routes crumbled amid renewed attacks.

With the attack well into its second week, Russian troops were making significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalled in some other regions. Soldiers and volunteers fortified the capital, Kyiv, with hundreds of checkpoints and barricades designed to thwart a takeover. A steady rain of shells and rockets fell on other population centers, including the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where the mayor reported heavy artillery fire.


9.12am: Germany to host G7 meeting on food security impact

Germany will host a virtual meeting of agricultural ministers from G7 countries on Friday to discuss the impact of Russia's attack on Ukraine on global food security and how to best stabilize food markets, the government said.

"The provision of foodstuffs in Germany and the European Union is safe but greater shortages can be expected in some countries outside the EU - especially where scarcity already reigns today due to issues like drought," German Agriculture Minister Cem Oezdemir said in statement.


9.00am: Oil price see-saws near 14-year highs

Oil prices see-sawed near 14-year highs on Tuesday as the United States considered acting alone to ban Russian oil imports rather than teaming up with allies in Europe, easing concerns of a wider disruption to crude supplies.

Brent crude futures were up $2.07, or 1.68 per cent, at $125.3 a barrel at 8.55 am UAE time.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 1.32 per cent at $121.0 a barrel after also trading in a roughly $4 range.

The erratic moves came following a sharp run-up on Monday to near 14-year highs when the Biden Administration said it was talking to Britain, France and Germany about a ban on Russian oil.


8.50am: UAE airlines extend suspension of flights

Some UAE airlines have extended their temporary suspension of flights to Ukraine after Russia launched an attack on the East European country in February.

A travel update issued on Dubai-based Emirates airline said: 'Emirates’ partner airlines – flydubai and S7 ‑ have suspended certain flights to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus due to the closure of airspace over these areas'


7.00am: Russia warns West of $300 per barrel oil, cuts to EU gas supply

Western countries could face oil prices of over $300 per barrel and the possible closure of the main Russia-Germany gas pipeline if governments follow through on threats to cut energy supplies from Russia, a senior minister said on Monday.

Oil prices spiked to their highest levels since 2008 on Monday after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington and European allies were considering banning Russian oil imports.

"It is absolutely clear that a rejection of Russian oil would lead to catastrophic consequences for the global market," Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement on state television.

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