Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates |  11 flights to bring back over 2,200 Indians on Sunday

The latest developments on Ukraine-Russia tensions after Russia launched military operation against Ukraine on February 26, 2022

The latest developments on Ukraine-Russia tensions after Russia launched military operation against Ukraine on February 26, 2022

The Russian military said it would observe a ceasefire in two areas of Ukraine to allow civilians to evacuate, Russian state media reported Saturday.. It would be the first breakthrough in allowing civilians to escape the war.

The Russian Defense 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.”
said the evacuation effort was stopped because the city of Mariupol remained under fire on Saturday.

However, later in the day, the Ukrainian president’s office said the evacuation effort was stopped because the city of Mariupol remained under fire on Saturday.

Russia’s attack on Europe’s largest nuclear plant, Zaporizhzhia, on March 5, 2022, triggered worldwide panic with the United Nations Security Council raising alarm at the prospect of a nuclear incident in Ukraine. U.S. embassy in Ukraine called the incident a ‘war crime’.

The UN Human Rights Council voted to to set up an international commission of enquiry into Russia’s actions in Ukraine. India was among 13 countries of the 47-member council elected from UN members that abstained from the resolution.

The conflict began escalating on February 21, 2022, after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and deployed troops in a peacekeeping role.

Read | Russia’s war, the impracticality of violence

Here are the latest updates:


11 flights to bring back over 2,200 Indians on Sunday

Eleven flights with more than 2,200 Indian evacuees will operate from Ukraine’s neighbouring countries to India on Sunday, the Civil Aviation Ministry said. About 3,000 Indians were airlifted on 15 flights to India on Saturday, the ministry’s statement noted.

“These included 12 special civilian and 3 Indian Air Force (IAF) flights,” it added. PTI


 Evacuations halted in Ukraine area where ceasefire pledged 

The Ukrainian president’s office says civilian evacuations have halted in an area of the country where Russian defense officials had announced a ceasefire.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office, said the evacuation effort was stopped because the city of Mariupol remained under fire on Saturday. – AP


Students from Sumy State University, Ukraine in their last video message to the Government of India, before they decided to move to the border at their own risk, as the Indian Embassy is yet to give them any directions.

Himachal Pradesh

309 hailing from Himachal evacuated from Ukraine, 149 still stuck: Jai Ram Thakur

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, on March 5, told the Himachal Pradesh Assembly that 309 people from the State have been evacuated from war-torn Ukraine so far. Speaking during the Budget session, the Chief Minister said 149 students from the State are still stuck there.

Several students from the State are still stuck in Ukraine’s Kharkiv and Sumy, the Chief Minister said. “However, there is a bit of respite that the evacuation of students has also begun from Kharkiv,” he added. “Every possible effort is being made to evacuate the students and the number of flights has been increased to do so,” Mr. Thakur said.

European Union

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

 The European Union 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.- Reuters


Reaching out to our 298 students in Pisochyn: Indian Embassy in Ukraine

Formula One

Haas F1 team terminates Nikita Mazepin’s contract, title partnership with Uralkali

United Kingdom

UK will speed up sanctions against Russians, Johnson says

Britain will be able to move more quickly to sanction Russian businessmen over President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine as a result of new legal measures which will be sent to parliament next week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Mr. Johnson said amendments to Britain’s economic crimes legislation due to be presented to parliament on Monday would help the government act with more speed.

“Top line of what our package on Monday will do is that the measures that you have against individual oligarchs in Europe will essentially allow us to catch them too,” he said.- Reuters


Volunteers weave camouflage nets for Ukrainian army in Lviv, Ukraine.
| Photo Credit: REUTERS

Over 66,200 Ukrainian men have returned from abroad to fight, says Ukranian defence minister

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Saturday that 66,224 Ukrainian men had returned from abroad to join the fight against Russia’s invasion.

“That’s how many men returned from abroad at this moment to defend their country from the horde. These are 12 more combat and motivated brigades! Ukrainians, we are invincible,” Reznikov said in an online post.


France works to secure Ukraine nuclear sites

The office of President Emmanuel Macron says France will soon propose concrete measures to ensure the safety and security of Ukraine’s five main nuclear sites.

The safeguards will be drawn up on the basis of International Atomic Energy Agency criteria, a statement from the French presidency said Saturday.

A Russian attack on a nuclear plant sparked a fire on Friday and briefly raised worldwide fears of a catastrophe. The statement said Macron is “extremely concerned about the risks to nuclear safety, security and the implementation of international safeguards resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”- AP


PayPal shuts down its services in Russia citing Ukraine aggression

 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.”- Reuters


Flight from Budapest carrying 183 Indians lands in Mumbai

An Air India Express flight from the Hungarian capital Budapest carrying 183 Indian nationals stranded in war-torn Ukraine landed in Mumbai on Saturday morning, the airline said.

Air India flight IX1604 with 182 passengers and one infant landed at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 11 a.m., an airline spokesperson said.

Tata group-owned Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express together have operated six evacuation flights from Bucharest in Romania and Budapest to Mumbai since February 26, carrying as many as 1,134 Indians from Ukraine. – PTI


Refugees from Ukraine wait the Ukrainian-Slovakian border following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Vysne Nemecke, Slovakia on March 4, 2022.

Refugees from Ukraine wait the Ukrainian-Slovakian border following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Vysne Nemecke, Slovakia on March 4, 2022.
| Photo Credit: REUTERS


Russia declares partial ceasefire to allow humanitarian corridors in Ukraine

Russia declared a partial ceasefire on Saturday to allow humanitarian corridors out of the Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, Russia’s defence ministry said.

“From 1000 am Moscow time (0700 GMT), the Russian side declares a ceasefire and the opening of humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha,” Russian news agencies quoted the Russian defence ministry as saying. – Reuters

New Delhi

AirAsia India flight carrying 170 Indian evacuees from Ukraine lands at Delhi

An AirAsia India evacuation flight from Suceava in Romania carrying 170 Indian evacuees from Ukraine landed at Delhi early morning on Saturday, an airline official said.

This was the first such flight operated by the Bengaluru-based budget carrier under ‘Operation Ganga,’ a central government initiative to bring back Indian citizens from war-torn Ukraine.

The passengers were received by the Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on their arrival in India, said the official.- PTI


With fast-weakening rouble and fears for future, Russians rush to shop

Russians are bracing for an uncertain future of spiraling inflation, economic hardship and an even sharper squeeze on imported goods.

The rouble has lost a third of its value this week after unprecedented Western sanctions were imposed to punish Russia for invading Ukraine. The moves froze much of the central bank’s $640 billion in reserves and barred several banks from global payments system SWIFT, leaving the rouble in free-fall.

Cities across Russia were outwardly calm, with little sign of the crisis devastating financial sector and markets. Except for the lines of people looking to stock up on products – mostly high-end items and hardware – before shelves empty or prices climb further.- Reuters


NMC says foreign medical graduates can complete internships in India

Against the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has said foreign medical graduates with incomplete internships due to situations beyond their control like COVID-19 or war can finish the same in India.

In a circular, the NMC said the same may be processed by the state medical councils, provided the candidates have cleared the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination before applying for completion of internship in India.

“There are also some foreign medical graduates with incomplete internships due to such compelling situations which are beyond their control, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and war etc. Considering the agony and stress faced by these foreign medical graduates, their application to complete the remaining part of internship in India is considered eligible,” the NMC said.- PTI


Delegates observe a minute of silence during the special session on the situation in Ukraine of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on March 4, 2022.

Delegates observe a minute of silence during the special session on the situation in Ukraine of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on March 4, 2022.
| Photo Credit: REUTERS


Singapore sanctions Russia over ‘unprovoked attack’ on Ukraine

Singapore announced sanctions against Russia on Saturday that include four banks and an export ban on electronics, computers and military items, in a rare move by the Asian financial hub in response to what it said was Moscow’s “dangerous precedent” in Ukraine.

“We cannot accept the Russian government’s violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another sovereign state,” its foreign ministry said in a statement, which gave no timeframe for when the sanctions would take effect.

“For a small state like Singapore, this is not a theoretical principle, but a dangerous precedent. This is why Singapore has strongly condemned Russia’s unprovoked attack.”

The restrictions bar Singapore’s financial institutions including its central bank, from dealing with Russia’s central bank as well as VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company, The Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank, Promsvyazbank Public Joint Stock Company and Bank Rossiya. The measures also cover cryptocurrencies.- Reuters

New Delhi

Three IAF aircraft carrying 629 Indians lands in Delhi

Three IAF aircraft carrying 629 Indians from Ukraine’s neighbouring countries landed at the Hindon air base here on Saturday morning, the air force said.

India has been evacuating its citizens from war-torn Ukraine’s neighbouring countries such as Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland as the Ukrainian airspace has been shut since February 24 due to the Russian military offensive.

“Till date, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has flown 10 sorties to bring back 2,056 passengers, while taking 26 tonnes of relief load to these countries, as part of Operation Ganga,” the IAF statement said.- PTI

Mariupol, Ukraine

Strategic Ukrainian port Mariupol ‘blockaded’ by Russian forces: mayor

Ukraine’s strategic port city of Mariupol is under a “blockade” by Russian forces after days of “ruthless” attacks, its mayor said on Saturday, calling for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor.

Located on the Sea of Azov, the city of 450,000 people has been bombarded by shellings and cut off without water or electricity in the depths of winter.

“For now, we are looking for solutions to humanitarian problems and all possible ways to get Mariupol out of the blockade,” said Vadim Boychenko in a message posted to the mayor’s Telegram account.

“Our priority is the establishment of a ceasefire so that we can restore vital infrastructure and set up a humanitarian corridor to bring food and medicine into the city,” he added.

Capturing Mariupol would give Moscow’s invasion a strategic advantage, connecting it to the Russian forces coming from annexed Crimea.- AFP


Samsung Electronics suspends shipments to Russia

Samsung Electronics has suspended shipments to Russia over “geopolitical developments”, the firm said Saturday, as major firms including Apple cut ties with the country over its invasion of Ukraine.

The South Korean tech giant is the world’s biggest memory chip maker and the leading smartphone seller in Russia.

“Due to current geopolitical developments, shipments to Russia have been suspended,” Samsung said in a statement.- AFP


People gather in front of Rome’s Piazza del Campidoglio city council square to protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, on March 4, 2022.

People gather in front of Rome’s Piazza del Campidoglio city council square to protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, on March 4, 2022.
| Photo Credit: AP


US Embassy calls power plant attack war crime

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine is calling Russia’s attack on a nuclear plant a war crime.

“It is a war crime to attack a nuclear power plant,” the embassy statement said. “Putin’s shelling of Europe’s largest nuclear plant takes his reign of terror one step further.”

Russian troops seized the plant Friday in an attack that set it on fire and briefly raised fears of a nuclear disaster. The blaze was extinguished and no radiation was released.- AP


U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to travel to Poland and Romania

Amid an escalating Ukrainian crisis, US Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Poland and Romania next week to unite her European allies against Russian aggression.

“Her visit will demonstrate the strength and unity of the NATO Alliance and U.S. support for NATO’s eastern flank allies in the face of Russian aggression. It will also highlight our collective efforts to support the people of Ukraine,” her deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said on Friday.

She is scheduled to travel to Warsaw, Poland and Bucharest, Romania March 9-11.- PTI


UN Security Council to meet Monday on humanitarian crisis in Ukraine: diplomats

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Monday on the humanitarian crisis triggered in Ukraine by the Russian invasion, diplomats said Friday.

After this public session, the 15 members of the council will confer behind closed doors to discuss a possible draft resolution, a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP.

This latter meeting has been proposed by Mexico and France, who are pushing a draft that calls for an end to hostilities in Ukraine, unhindered flow of humanitarian aid and protection of civilians.- AFP


Ukraine’s Zelensky to address U.S. Senate

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, leading his country’s battle against the Russian invasion, will address the US Senate on Saturday, a US legislative aide said.

Zelensky will speak to senators via Zoom in the morning Washington time at the request of Ukraine.- AFP

Lviv, Ukraine

Refugees crossing the rail tracks as they try to reach trains to Poland following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the main train station in Lviv, Ukraine on March 4, 2022.

Refugees crossing the rail tracks as they try to reach trains to Poland following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the main train station in Lviv, Ukraine on March 4, 2022.
| Photo Credit: REUTERS


Pakistan responds to EU, U.S. envoys asking it to condemn Russian attack on Ukraine

Pakistan on Friday expressed concern over a joint statement by Islamabad based envoys asking Pakistan to condemn Russian attack on Ukraine.

Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed said at the weekly press briefing that Pakistan “took note” of the press release by the envoys this week, which was reported in media as a letter to Pakistan but the FO termed it as a press release.


U.N. Security Council members raise alarm of nuclear risks following attack on Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia power plant

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members expressed alarm at the prospect of a nuclear incident in Ukraine, at an emergency meeting on Friday, convened hours after a training building at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant caught fire, as Russians moved in on the facility and seized control of it. The International Atomic Energy (IAEA) chief told the Council that no reactors had been damaged.


Russian forces seize huge Ukrainian nuclear plant, fire extinguished

Russian forces seized the largest nuclear power plant in Europe after a building at the complex was set ablaze during intense fighting with Ukrainian defenders, Ukrainian authorities said on Friday.

Fears of a potential nuclear disaster at the Zaporizhzhia plant had spread alarm across world capitals, before authorities said the fire in a building identified as a training centre, had been extinguished.

Sumy, Ukraine

In Sumy, Indian students await Government intervention

The fate of several hundreds of students at Sumy in eastern Ukraine hangs in the balance as there was little progress on a “humanitarian corridor” for evacuation of civilians on Friday, while students who were able to reach Pesochin from Kharkiv after an advisory continued to leave for the western border on privately arranged buses.

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