‘I fear no one’ Zelensky says as Russian attacks continue | #socialmedia

The fighting in Ukraine has entered its 13th day. Keep up with the latest developments with live updates from 1News.

What you need to know

  • The New Zealand Government is proposing a targeted sanction regime against Russia. The bespoke Russia Sanctions Bill is expected to pass under urgency in Parliament this week. The Government has also released a list of 100 people associated with the Russian invasion of Ukraine that come under a travel ban.
  • The UN human rights office says it has confirmed the deaths of 406 civilians in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24. The Geneva-based office says another 801 had been injured as of midnight Sunday, local time. The office only reports casualties it confirms, and believes real figures are considerably higher.
  • The UN estimates more than 1.7 million people have fled Ukraine since fighting began.
  • A third round of talks between Ukraine and Russia has ended. A Ukraine official says there are small improvements to the logistics of humanitarian corridors.

Live updates

12.55pm: In Zelensky’s latest address to his nation, filmed from his office in Kyiv, he says he will be staying in the capital and won’t be hiding.

“I fear no one.”

12.43pm: BBC reporter Paul Kenyon says, in the past hour, he has heard three or four loud explosions coming from the west in Odesa, a southern port city in Ukraine.

Kenyon says he’s told it was Ukrainian forces taking down incoming Russian missiles, which have been fired from a war ship off the coast.

12.30pm: From the Associated Press:

Top officials in the US Congress have reached an agreement on legislation that would ban Russian oil imports to the US and end Russia’s permanent normal trade relation status in response to the intensifying war in Ukraine.

That’s according to a Senate aide granted anonymity to discuss the private deliberations in Congress.

Voting could come swiftly but no schedule has been set.

The White House has been reluctant to ban Russian oil imports as gas prices at the pump spike for Americans, but has not ruled out the option.

Ending the normal trade relation status could result in steep tariffs on other Russian imports.

12.25pm: Get wrap of the past day’s developments with this story from the BBC:

12.04pm: Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak may face a lengthy ban from the sport or be stripped of his medal after displaying a pro-war symbol at a World Cup event while sharing the podium with a Ukrainian rival.

Ivan Kuliak.

Kuliak was slammed on social media for taping a makeshift “Z” to his singlet for the medal ceremony after winning bronze in the parallel bars final at the Apparatus World Cup event in Doha on Monday.

The “Z” is a common symbol painted on tanks and other war machines currently being used in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is also worn by civilians and officials who support Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

Read the full story here.

11.55am: A “peace flotilla” will be meeting at the luxury coastal retreat of New Zealand’s richest Russian investor later this week, according to Greenpeace.

Alexander Abramov owns a $50 million estate in Helena Bay, Northland. It’s unclear, though, how close the oligarch is to Putin. He’s also not included in New Zealand’s targeted travel ban on Russians associated with the invasion.

“We applaud the Government’s announcement yesterday of the Russia Sanctions Bill, but if they are serious about using sanctions to pressure Putin, then they must go for the big fish quickly,” Greenpeace Aotearoa programme director Niamh O’Flynn says.

Waikato University international law professor Alexander Gillespie tells Stuff New Zealand has to treat every Russian person fairly and with due process.

“Just because you are an oligarch doesn’t mean you have a relationship with Putin [or the Russian military]. We want an evidentiary process so we can say this person is linked to Putin so therefore they are subject to sanction,” he tells Stuff.

11.31am: From the Associated Press:

The United Nations is unable to meet the needs of millions of civilians caught in conflict in Ukraine and is urging safe passage for people to go “in the direction they choose” and for humanitarian supplies to get to areas of hostilities, according to the UN humanitarian chief.

Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths tells a UN Security Council meeting that his office has sent a team to Moscow to coordinate with the Russian military to try to scale up the delivery of humanitarian aid to the level needed.

The first UN-Russia meeting has been held, he says, welcoming cooperation by both sides and expressing hope of “further progress in the hours ahead”.

Griffiths says the UN and its partners have already provided food to hundreds of thousands of people and the World Food Program “is setting up supply chain operations to deliver immediate food and cash assistance to 3 to 5 million people inside Ukraine”.

He says the Ukrainian Red Cross has distributed hygiene and food kits, warm clothing and medicine to thousands of people.

The UN humanitarian chief is also expressing deep worry at the consequences of “this unnecessary conflict” on “vulnerable people living half a world away” affected by spiking food prices, uncertain supplies and record-level prices.

“People in the Sahel, Yemen, the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, Madagascar, and beyond already face profound food insecurity,” Griffiths says.

He says high gas prices means “life becomes harder still in places like Lebanon”.

11.10am: ‘It’s time to step up’ – ACT Party launches petition

The ACT Party says the New Zealand Government has been too slow to act against Russia and should be doing more.

Refugees fleeing from Ukraine arrive at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland.

The party is launching a petition to allow Kiwi-Ukrainians to bring their immediate family to New Zealand as soon as possible.

“It’s a simple thing the Government could do quickly to show solidarity to Kiwi-Ukrainians,” deputy leader and foreign affairs spokesperson Brooke van Velden says.

“It’s time to step up. The world is uniting against Russian aggression to help the Ukrainian people. The question is what are we doing for our Ukrainian-Kiwi neighbours?”

Inga Tokarenko, a Ukrainian in New Zealand, started a petition a week ago calling for New Zealand to take in Ukrainian refugees.

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said last week 170 applications for visas from Ukrainian people will be fast-tracked. He said half of the applications are from people in New Zealand with temporary visas, and the other half are overseas.

But, some Ukrainians in New Zealand say actually putting in an application is complicated.

The National Party is also calling for a humanitarian visa for refugees from Ukraine who have family in New Zealand.

The Greens want to take this further. They say New Zealand should take 2000 refugees from Ukraine, and that applications should be open to anyone escaping from the fighting.

10.41am: ‘It’s a shame it’s taken this long’ – Nicola Willis on targeted sanction regime

National’s deputy leader Nicola Willis, filling in for Covid-positive leader Christopher Luxon, says the party caucus will be discussing the Government’s proposals for a targeted sanction regime against Russia. More on that bill here.

Willis says New Zealand must join its international partners in putting strong sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

“That has not been the case to date, so we will be scrutinising these proposals very carefully.”

She criticises the Government for voting down MP Gerry Brownlee’s members’ bill that will give New Zealand a framework to implement autonomous sanctions. The proposed law failed its first reading last year.

“It’s a shame it’s taken this long.”

Among the actions already taken by New Zealand include targeted travel bans, the prohibition of the export of goods to Russian military and security forces, and the suspension of bilateral foreign ministry consultations until further notice.

The actions have landed New Zealand in Russia’s “unfriendly countries” list.

On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a proposed law would be introduced in Parliament this week that would place further sanctions on “those responsible for or associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including people, services, companies, and assets”.

Under the proposed regime, super yachts and ships can be stopped from entering, Russian assets in New Zealand can be frozen and sanctions can also apply to trade.

10.20am: From the Associated Press:

The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine deepens as Russian forces intensify their shelling.

Food, water, heat and medicine is increasingly scarce. Ukraine is condemning it as a medieval-style siege by Moscow to batter it into submission.

A third round of talks between the two sides ended with a top Ukrainian official saying there had been minor, unspecified progress toward establishing safe corridors that would allow civilians to escape the fighting. Russia’s chief negotiator says he expects those corridors to start operating on Tuesday.

Proposed corridors for civilian evacuation in Ukraine as of March 8.

But that remains to be seen, given the failure of previous attempts to lead civilians to safety amid the biggest ground war in Europe since World War II.

Well into the second week of the invasion, with Russian troops making significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalling in some other regions, a top US official says multiple countries were discussing whether to provide the warplanes Zelensky has been pleading for.

Putin’s forces continue to pummel cities with rockets, and fierce fighting rages in places.

In one of the most desperate cities, the encircled southern port of Mariupol, an estimated 200,000 people — nearly half the population of 430,000 — were hoping to flee. Red Cross officials waited to hear when a corridor would be established.

The city is short on water, food and power, and cellphone networks are down. Stores have been looted as residents search for essential goods.

In the capital, Kyiv, soldiers and volunteers have built hundreds of checkpoints to protect the city of nearly 4 million, often using sandbags, stacked tires and spiked cables.

Sandbag barricades are constructed in Kyiv as the Russian attacks continue on Ukraine on March 6.

Some barricades look significant, with heavy concrete slabs and sandbags piled more than two stories high, while others appeared more haphazard, with hundreds of books used to weigh down stacks of tires.

10.00am: Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Alexander Novak is trying to deter the west from banning its oil, saying that doing so “will trigger disastrous consequences for global markets”.

Meanwhile, an anonymous source tells Reuters the US is willing to go ahead with banning Russian oil imports with or without its European allies’ participation.

The source says no decision has been made yet.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz is rejecting a plan to ban energy imports. Germany is the biggest buyer of Russian crude oil.

Scholz says such a move will put Europe’s energy security at risk.

As of 10am New Zealand time, the Brent Crude is up 5 per cent to sit at US$123.50 a barrel.

9.50am: The World Health Organization says it has verified 16 attacks between February 24 and March 3 on health care workers in Ukraine.

These attacks have led to at least 9 deaths and 16 injuries, WHO says in a tweet. At least 7 of those injured are health workers.

“More reported incidents are currently in the process of being verified.”

The WHO says it “strongly condemns” the attacks.

9.37am Reuters news agency – citing Ukrainian officials – say a Russian air strike hit a bread factory in northern Ukraine, killing at least 13 civilians.

9.23am: Charity Save the Children says it’s “outraged” at the deaths of eight people, including a woman and her two children, killed in a mortar shell attack on Monday as they tried to flee Irpin.

Civilians cross the shelled bridge in Irpin on March 3, 2022, in Irpin, Ukraine.

The BBC reports the shells were from Russian forces, and the deaths happened as the civilians were trying to cross a damaged bridge to escape.

Irina Saghoyan, Save the Children’s Eastern Europe director, says all parties must respect international humanitarian and human rights laws to minimise civilian harm.

“Perpetrators of crimes against children – including children caught in the crossfire – must be held to account and brought to justice,” Saghoyan says.

A Ukrainian police officer helps people as artillery echoes nearby while fleeing Irpin in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine.

“For the children who witnessed this incident, without support, their suffering may last for years. They may struggle with anxiety and depression, or have nightmares, re-living the horror of the experience.”

The charity has teams in Poland and Romania to help refugees from Ukraine.

9.13am: Family pleads for Government to let fleeing Ukrainians into New Zealand

The Government promised last week it would fast-track visa applications from Ukrainians to come to New Zealand. But, one Kiwi says the reality is far more convoluted.

That’s the case for Alex Wills and fiancée Marria Torbina, who are anxiously trying to get Torbina’s 64-year-old mother to New Zealand.

Wills tells Breakfast “there’s just been no help from Immigration or the New Zealand Government”.

While there’s a note on the Immigration New Zealand website saying Ukrainians’ visa applications will be prioritised, there isn’t a dedicated place to apply.

Wills then tried to call Immigration NZ, and only managed to do so after multiple phone calls and a three-and-a-half-hour wait on Monday.

“At which point, they directed me to apply for a border exemption. If that’s approved… maybe we can apply for a visitors’ visa. We’d just be grateful for anything at this point to get her here.”

Wills’ mother-in-law is currently on a 30-hour train ride to the border of Slovakia and Hungary.

Once she’s there, “we just don’t know” what will happen, he says.

“To give you an idea of what mum is like, yesterday when she was packing, we discovered she was trying to fill her only bag with presents for us she’d made in the past year instead of her own belongings.”

He adds: “Unfortunately, Jacinda [Ardern] and Mr [Kris] Faafoi seem to have missed the kindness train. Please. We’re not even asking for refugee… mum should qualify for a visa under normal circumstances.”

He says he isn’t even asking for his mother-in-law to stay in New Zealand permanently at the current time – only that she can come here.

“Otherwise, in a best-case scenario, she will be standing in the corner of a gym in Slovakia with goodness knows what facilities at 64 years old.”

Getting Ukrainian refugees into New Zealand quickly is more important than sanctions and platitudes, Wills says.

1News has approached the Government for comment.

Read their full story here.

8.45am: From the Associated Press:

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended his government’s treatment of Ukrainians fleeing war, after France accused UK authorities of “inhumane” behaviour towards the refugees.

Johnson says Britain was being “very, very generous”, but will not have “a system where people can come into the UK without any checks or any controls at all”.

Britain says it expects to take in as many as 200,000 displaced Ukrainians.

Very few have managed to reach Britain so far. The Home Office said “around 50” visas had been granted by Monday.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin says hundreds of Ukrainian refugees in the English Channel port of Calais had been turned away and told by British authorities that they must obtain visas at UK embassies in Paris or Brussels.

Calling that “a bit inhumane,” Darmanin urges Britain to “stop the technocratic nit-picking”.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel denies Britain was turning anyone away.

The British government confirms it does not have a visa centre in Calais.

8.13am: The BBC reports Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the UK Parliament virtually from Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

He will speak from 6am Wednesday (New Zealand time).

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle says “every parliamentarian wants to hear directly from the president”.

8.08am: Russia’s top negotiator Vladimir Medinsky says he expects that humanitarian corridors in Ukraine will finally start functioning on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports.

He says no progress has been made on a political settlement, but voiced hope that the next round could be more productive.

“Our expectations from the talks have failed, but we hope that we would be able to make a more significant step forward next time,” Medinsky says. “The talks will continue.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said previously he would be ready to end the invasion if all demands raised by Moscow are met and Kyiv stops its military operations.

Included in Moscow’s demands is that Crimea be acknowledged as Russian territory, that the separatist regions Donetsk and Lugansk are recognised as independent states, and that Ukraine changes its constitution to ensure neutrality.

7.50am: From the Associated Press:

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian criticised Russia’s offer of humanitarian corridors for Ukrainian civilians as a “trap” that could possibly lead to more bombing in Ukraine.

Le Drian referred to Russia’s tactic of bombing and then offering humanitarian corridors in the past, citing Aleppo in Syria and Grozny, in Chechnya.

He says, in such cases, Russia’s proposal of establishing humanitarian corridors actually led to more bombings after negotiations failed.

“We must not fall into traps,” Le Drian says in Montpellier after a meeting of European ministers.

“I’m even wondering if in Russian military schools there are classes to explain: ‘bombing, corridor, negotiations, breach (of negotiations), we start it all again’.

“It’s quite tragic but unfortunately it sends shivers down your spine,” he says.

7.36am: How can you help?

While Ukraine is half a world away from New Zealand, there are ways Kiwis can help. To find out how, watch this report from Breakfast’s Grace Thomas:

7.17am: New Zealand lands itself in Russia’s ‘unfriendly countries’ list

Russia now considers New Zealand “unfriendly”, according to state-controlled media agency TASS.

TASS reports Moscow has included countries who have imposed or joined sanctions against Russia after its so-called “special military operation”.

Those on the “unfriendly countries” list include New Zealand, Australia, EU states, the UK, US, Canada, Ukraine, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan.

It follows a presidential decree on March 5 that allows the Russian government, companies and its citizens to temporarily pay foreign currency debts to those on the list in rubles. The Russian currency has dropped to record lows in recent days.

6.59am: Mykhailo Podoliyak, adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, says the third round of talks with Russia has ended.

“There are small positive subductions in improving the logistics of humanitarian corridors,” he tweets.

“Intensive consultations have continued on the basic political block of the regulations, along with a ceasefire and security guarantees.”

Earlier, Podoliyak says he could hardly believe talks were starting with a country that believes “massive violence against civilians is an argument”.

6.50am: The latest intelligence update from the UK’s Ministry of Defence says Russia is increasingly restricting access to social media to limit the negative coverage of its invasion of Ukraine.

The Defence Ministry says it will make it “increasingly difficult” for people in Russia to access information outside of the official view from the Kremlin.

“This indicates the Kremlin’s concern over the Russian population’s attitude to the conflict.”

6.41am: The mayor of Hostomel has been “shot dead by Russians” while distributing aid, according to city authorities.

The city council’s Facebook page says Yuri Illich Prylypko “died while distributing bread to the hungry and medicine to the sick”.

City authorities say he died with two others.

6.35am: Good morning and welcome to live coverage from 1News as the fighting in Ukraine enters its 13th day.

From the Associated Press:

Russia announced yet another limited ceasefire and the establishment of safe corridors to allow civilians to flee some besieged Ukrainian cities on Tuesday.

But the evacuation routes led mostly to Russia and its ally Belarus, drawing withering criticism from Ukraine – who called it an “immoral stunt” – and others.

A Ukrainian police officer runs while holding a child as the artillery echoes nearby, while fleeing Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv.

Ukrainian officials are accusing Moscow of resorting to “medieval siege” tactics in places, and in one of the most desperate of the encircled cities, the southern port of Mariupol, there were no immediate signs of an evacuation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces continue to pummel some cities with rockets even after the announcement of corridors, and fierce fighting raged in places, indicating there would be no wider cessation of hostilities.

Efforts to set up safe passage for civilians over the weekend fell apart amid continued shelling. But the Russian Defense Ministry announced a new push on Tuesday, saying civilians would be allowed to leave the capital of Kyiv, Mariupol and the cities of Kharkiv and Sumy.

The two sides met for a third round of talks on Tuesday New Zealand time, according to Russian state media, though hopes for any breakthrough were dim.

The countries’ foreign ministers are also scheduled to meet in Turkey on Thursday, according to that country’s top diplomat.

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