Live Updates: UK Defense Secretary: Russia is getting desperate

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A train carrying refugees fleeing Ukraine crosses the border in Medyka, Poland, Monday, March 7, 2022. Russia announced on Monday a new limited ceasefire and the establishment of safe corridors to allow civilians to flee certain besieged Ukrainian cities. But the escape routes mainly led to Russia and its ally Belarus, drawing harsh criticism from Ukraine and others. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

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The latest developments on the Russian-Ukrainian war:

LONDON — Britain’s defense secretary said on Tuesday that Ukrainian special forces allegedly destroyed more than 20 Russian helicopters on the ground overnight as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to face logistical problems and resistance. fierce.

Russia’s advance towards the capital, Kyiv, continues to come under pressure from Ukrainian forces around the nearby towns of Hostomel, Bucha, Vorzel and Irpin, the British Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update released on Monday. evening. In addition, a long Russian column remains blocked on the road north of Kiev.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Russian forces were becoming increasingly desperate in the face of such military and supply blockages, leading to “indiscriminate shelling” of civilians.

“We also recognized that the greatest victims, so far in the war, are probably the Russian military soldiers who have been abandoned by appalling leaders, appalling leaders and appalling plans. And now you literally see them dying on a massive scale.

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WASHINGTON – The World Bank announced that it has approved more than $700 in emergency aid for Ukraine.

Dubbed FREE Ukraine, it includes nearly $500 million in loans and guarantees and $134 million in grants, with Japan pledging an additional $100 million in funding. The aid is intended to help the Ukrainian government pay hospital workers’ salaries, pensions and other social programs. Bundling aid into a package aims to streamline and speed up the delivery of financing, the World Bank said in a statement.

“The World Bank Group stands with the people of Ukraine and the region,” said World Bank President David Malpass. “This is the first of many steps we are taking to help address the massive human and economic impacts of this crisis.”

The World Bank also said it was preparing a $3 billion support package for Ukraine and the region to help it cope with the influx of displaced people fleeing the fighting.

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TOKYO — U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday hailed Japan’s latest sanctions on Russia’s oil refining industry and Belarus.

Japan froze the assets of Russian and Belarusian officials and banned the new issuance and distribution of Russian government bonds, acting in unity with the United States and other industrialized countries of the Group of Seven. also prohibits exports of oil refining equipment to Russia.

“We commend the leadership of the Kishida government today in targeting the Russian oil refining sector with strict export controls,” Emanuel said in a statement.

These measures help restrict Russia’s access to revenue that supports Vladimir Putin and his war on Ukraine, he said.

“These new actions, implemented in close cooperation with the United States and other partners, demonstrate Japan’s resolute commitment to stand with the people of Ukraine and against Putin’s vicious regime,” Emanuel said.

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistan on Tuesday sent a plane to Poland to evacuate more than 300 Pakistanis who escaped fighting in Ukraine.

Pakistan International Airlines says most of them are students.

Pakistan has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, though it has denounced war as a solution to disputes and called for negotiations and a ceasefire. Prime Minister Imran Khan met President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin just hours after the Russian leader sent tanks into Ukraine on February 24.

Pakistan abstained in last week’s UN General Assembly vote condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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TOKYO — Japanese automaker Nissan plans to halt production at its plant in Russia due to “logistical challenges”.

Nissan Motor Co. did not provide a specific date but said production on Tuesday would end “soon”. Its St. Petersburg plant produced 45,000 vehicles last year, including the X-Trail sport utility vehicle.

The Yokohama-based manufacturer said the safety of its employees is its top priority.

Nissan previously stopped its exports to Russia.

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LVIV, Ukraine – Russian planes bombed towns in eastern and central Ukraine overnight, Ukrainian officials said. The bombardments pounded the suburbs of the capital, Kiev.

In Sumy and Okhtyrka, east of Kiev near the Russian border, bombs fell on residential buildings and destroyed a power plant, regional chief Dmytro Zhivitsky said. He said there were dead and injured but gave no figures.

Bombs also hit oil depots in Zhytomyr and the nearby town of Cherniakhiv, located west of Kiev.

In Bucha, a suburb of Kiev, the mayor reported heavy artillery fire.

“We can’t even pick up the bodies because the heavy gunfire doesn’t stop day or night,” Mayor Anatol Fedoruk said. “Dogs separate the bodies in the streets of the city. It’s a nightmare.”

The Ukrainian government demands the opening of humanitarian corridors to allow people to safely leave Sumy, Zhytomyr, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Kyiv suburbs, including Bucha.

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LVIV, Ukraine — The mayor of Lviv says the city in far western Ukraine is struggling to feed and house the tens of thousands of people who have fled war-torn parts of the country.

“We really need support,” Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said.

More than 200,000 Ukrainians displaced from their homes are now in Lviv, filling sports halls, schools, hospitals and churches. The historic town once popular with tourists had a pre-war population of 700,000.

The mayor said the city needs large tents with kitchens so food can be prepared.

Hundreds of thousands more could arrive if humanitarian corridors are opened from cities currently besieged by Russian troops.

The embassies of the United States and EU countries also moved to Lviv from Kiev before the invasion.

Lviv is the main transit point for those fleeing just across the border into Poland. Many of the 1.7 million Ukrainians currently abroad have passed through the city. The United Nations has called the situation Europe’s fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II.

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LVIV, Ukraine – A Russian general has been killed in fighting around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which Russian forces have been trying to capture since the start of the invasion, the intelligence agency said. Ukrainian military.

He identified him as Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, 45, and said he fought with Russian forces in Syria and Chechnya and took part in the capture of Crimea in 2014.

It was not possible to independently confirm the death. Russia did not comment.

Another Russian general was killed earlier in the fighting. A local organization of officers in Russia has confirmed the death in Ukraine of Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky, commanding general of the Russian 7th Airborne Division.

Sukhovetsky also took part in the Russian military campaign in Syria.

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CANBERRA, Australia — The Australian government says it is imposing sanctions on Moscow’s “propagandists and purveyors of disinformation” who legitimize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement on Tuesday that her government was sanctioning 10 “people of strategic interest to Russia” for their role in encouraging hostility towards Ukraine.

“This includes conducting and spreading false narratives about the ‘denazification’ of Ukraine, making false allegations of genocide against ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, and promoting recognition of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic as independent,” Payne said, referring to breakaway regions of Ukraine.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was accompanied by an extensive disinformation campaign, both within Russia and internationally, she said.

“Tragically for Russia, President (Vladimir) Putin has shut down independent voices and locked ordinary Russians into a world characterized by lies and misinformation,” Payne said.