Russia says it will open humanitarian corridors to Ukrainian cities on Monday

  • Talking about humanitarian corridors comes after the ceasefire failed
  • Oil price rises as the United States considers banning Russia’s oil
  • Australia urges China to do more to stop Russia’s invasion
  • Ukraine says Russian forces are preparing to attack Kyiv

Lviv/Kyiv, Ukraine, March 7 (Reuters) – The Russian military will open fire and open humanitarian corridors in several Ukrainian cities on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said, after fighting halted evacuation efforts over the weekend and mounting civilian casualties from the Russian invasion.

The ministry said the corridors will open at 10 a.m. Moscow time (0700 GMT) from the capital Kyiv as well as the cities of Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy, and are being set up at the personal request of French President Emmanuel Macron.

According to maps published by the RIA, the corridor from Kyiv will lead to Russia’s ally Belarus, and civilians from Kharkiv will have only a corridor to Russia. Passages will lead from Mariupol and Sumy to other Ukrainian cities and to Russia.

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Those who want to leave Kyiv will also be able to be flown to Russia, the ministry said, adding that it will use drones to monitor the evacuation.

“The attempts of the Ukrainian side to deceive Russia and the entire civilized world … are futile this time,” the ministry said.

The Russian invasion was condemned worldwide, pushed more than 1.5 million Ukrainians to flee abroad, and triggered sweeping Western-led sanctions designed to cripple the Russian economy.

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Russia described the campaign it launched on February 24 as a “special military operation”. It has repeatedly denied attacking civilian areas and says it has no plans to occupy Ukraine.

Oil prices jumped to their highest levels since 2008 in Asian trade after the Biden administration said it was exploring a ban on Russian oil imports. Russia provides 7% of the world’s supply. Read more

Japan, which regards Russia as its fifth largest supplier of crude oil, is also in discussions with the United States and European countries about a possible ban on Russian oil imports, Kyodo News reported Monday.

A source familiar with the discussions told Reuters that Europe is dependent on Russia for crude oil and natural gas, but has become more open to the idea of ​​banning Russian products.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces General Staff said Russian forces “began to amass resources to storm the city of Kyiv,” which has a population of 3 million, after days of slow progress in its main advance south from Belarus.

About 200,000 people are still trapped in the besieged Black Sea port of Mariupol, most of them sleeping underground to escape bombardments by Russian forces for more than six days, cutting off food, water, electricity and heating, according to Ukrainian authorities. Read more

About half of the city’s 400,000 residents had been scheduled to evacuate on Sunday, but that effort was aborted for a second day when a ceasefire plan collapsed, with each side accusing the other of inaction and bombing.

On Monday, Ukrainian authorities said the southern city of Mykolaiv was bombed.

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“Arc of Autonomy”

The United Nations said on Sunday that the number of civilians killed in hostilities across Ukraine since Russia began the invasion has reached 364, including more than 20 children, adding that hundreds have been injured. Read more

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the United States had seen credible reports of deliberate attacks on civilians and was documenting them to support a possible war crimes investigation. Read more

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned Russians who committed atrocities against civilians that they will face punishment.

“For you, there will be no place of peace on this earth except the grave,” he said in a televised evening address.

As anti-war protests erupted around the world, Ukraine renewed its appeal to the West for tougher sanctions and also asked for more weapons, including Russian-made aircraft.

Blinken said the United States was studying how to back up its planes to Poland if it decided to supply Ukraine with its warplanes.

Putin says he wants a “demilitarized”, “demilitarized” and neutral Ukraine, and on Saturday likened Western sanctions to a “declaration of war”.

New Zealand became the latest country to announce on Monday that it would impose sanctions on Russia, including a plan to prevent giant yachts, ships and aircraft from entering its waters or airspace. Read more

South Korea has tightened its financial sanctions against Russia by banning dealings with the Russian Central Bank.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged China to act according to its declarations of promoting world peace and join efforts to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, warning that the world was in danger of being reshaped by an “arc of absolutism”. Read more

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“No country will have more influence in ending this horrific war in Ukraine than China,” Morrison said in response to a question after a speech at the Lowy Institute.

Western sanctions pushed many companies out of their investments in Russia, while some Russian banks were excluded from global financial payment systems, sending the ruble down and forcing Moscow to raise interest rates.

More companies cut ties with Russia on Sunday: American Express (AXP.N)and Netflix Inc. and accounting giants KPMG and PwC and video sharing app TikTok.

But the Chinese companies remain. Read more

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Reporting by Reuters offices. Written by Humira Pamuk and Stephen Coates; Editing by Lincoln Fest, Robert Persil and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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