Ukraine LIVE: Putin on alert as UK and NATO poised to deploy 5k-strong 'brigade strength'

Rachel Hagan

Russian army has shelled evacuation corridor

Sergiy Orlov, Deputy Mayor of Mariupol, says Russian army has shelled evacuation corridor and mined the road.

Civilians have been unable to evacuate from Izyum because of Russian shelling in the eastern Kharkiv region, despite the promise of humanitarian corridoors. 

An evacuation of civilians was scheduled to take place today from Izyum to Lozova as one of the six “humanitarian corridors”, but regional governor Oleh Synehubov said buses were still waiting at the entrance to the town.

Orlov says #Russian army has shelled evacuation corridor, mined the road and put in a check point. 200K people desperate to leave, only 2-3K able to get out daily on 21 municipal buses. The others destroyed. Russians deliberately shelling assembly points for those trying to exit

u2014 Luke Harding (@lukeharding1968) March 9, 2022

Rachel Hagan

Power loss will have ‘no critical impact on safety’ at Chernobyl

The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says power loss at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant “violates a key safety pillar on ensuring uninterrupted power supply”.

But, they do not predict that it will have a “critical impact on safety”.

It adds: “IAEA says heat load of spent fuel storage pool and volume of cooling water at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant sufficient for effective heat removal without need for electrical supply.”

IAEA says heat load of spent fuel storage pool and volume of cooling water at #Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant sufficient for effective heat removal without need for electrical supply. IAEA update from March 3: https://t.co/x5IlduZQOn

u2014 IAEA – International Atomic Energy Agency (@iaeaorg) March 9, 2022

Rachel Hagan

Almost 1,000 Ukrainians granted UK visas

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The last figure I saw was 957”, in relation to the number of visas the UK has granted Ukrainians fleeing the war.

People can currently apply for British visas through two routes.

The Ukraine Family Scheme is the first, enabling those fleeing the conflict to join immediate or extended relatives already living in Britain.

The second visa, which is not yet operational, promises to allow people and organisations to sponsor Ukrainians and match them with a family.

Rachel Hagan

Ukrainian actor Pasha Lee killed by Russian shelling

A 33-year-old Ukrainian actor has been killed by shelling as Russian forces occupied the city Irpin.

This comes a week after he joined Ukrainian armed forces to defend his country from Russian attacks.

A Facebook post by Sergiy Tomilenko, president of Ukraine’s National Union of Journalists, confirmed the death of Mr Lee.

“The National Association of Journalists of Ukraine expresses sincere condolences to Paul’s family and loved ones.

“Our words of support are the entire team of the DOM channel, which embodies a noble mission of speech for the de-occupation of Donetsk, Luhansk regions and Crimea.”

Rachel Hagan

UN warns of rise in gender-based violence and sexual exploitation

In a situation report on the humanitarian impact of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said risks were high “as the majority of people on the move are women and children.” 

The report said: “Persistent challenges in accessing basic goods and services and lack of access to safe shelter leave women and girls extremely vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and violence.”

Clearly, specialist services for women enduring abuse is going to be severely limited as cities are bombed and the population flee, only exacerbating the potential for harm.

In countries enduring conflictu2014as we see from Ethiopia to Afghanistan to Ukraineu2014women and girls are the most vulnerable.

The specific needs of women and girls must be prioritized, and their health, rights & dignity safeguarded. #IWD2022 pic.twitter.com/kv1A7ZI1qY

u2014 Antu00f3nio Guterres (@antonioguterres) March 8, 2022

Rachel Hagan

More routes for refugees will be announced in the coming days

Ian Blackford, the SNP Westminster leader, said in Prime Minister’s Questions that “no one should support this government” over its intake of refugees.

He said Prime Minister Boris Johnson has overseen the “slowest, most bureaucratic and incompetent refugee responses” in Europe.

To which Mr Johnson replied: “I think everybody sympathises with the plight of refugees, and in the end, this government wants to do everything we can to to welcome them.”

He said that more routes into the country will be announced in the coming days.

Rachel Hagan

Radioactive substances could be released from Chernobyl nuclear power plant

Reuters have reported that Radioactive substances could be released from Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant because it cannot cool spent nuclear fuel after its power connection was severed. 

The implications of this could be deadly. The Chernobyl accident in 1986, immediately killed one person and a second died in hospital soon after as a result of injuries received. Acute radiation syndromen was diagnosed in 237 people onsite, of these, 28 people died as a result within a few weeks of the accident.

Rachel Hagan

400 people arrested by Russia over protests in Kherson

The Ukrainian military has said that more than 400 have been arrested by Russia’s national guard for protesting in the now Russian-occupied Kherson.

In a statement, the Ukrainian military high command said: “Due to the furious resistance of the residents of Kherson, the occupiers are attempting to introduce an administrative-police regime.”

Day 14. Good morning. Video: Kherson – the only regional capital that has fallen. Ukrainian crowd of protestors gets angry after Russian troop start beating up a protestor. Russians open fire (in the air) and that does not stop but mobilize protestors. Pure anger and no fear pic.twitter.com/MQQJwyyVju

u2014 Tymofiy Mylovanov (@Mylovanov) March 9, 2022

Rachel Hagan

Russia has disconnected Chernobyl from grid

Energoatom have issued a nuclear warning after the power line between Kyiv and Chernobyl was disconnected amid the Russian invasion.

Without power, nuclear fuel stored at the site could heat up and emit radiation into the sky. 

Energoatom added that the wind could then carry this radiation across Ukraine and the rest of Europe.

Issuing a warning via Telegram, the Ukrainian nuclear company added: “The 750 kV Chernobyl-Kyiv high-voltage line is currently disconnected due to damage by the occupiers.

“Thus, the Chornobyl station and all nuclear facilities of the Exclusion Zone were left without electricity. About 20,000 spent fuel assemblies are stored at the spent nuclear fuel storage facility – 1.

“They need constant cooling. Which is possible only if there is electricity. If it is not there, the pumps will not cool.”

Rachel Hagan

Ben Wallace is to make a statement in parliament on Ukraine

The UK Defence Minister, Ben Wallace, will make a statement in parliament on Ukraine at around 12:40. We will bring you all of the latest lines.

Rachel Hagan

Zelenskiy warns of mass ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

In his televised address, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said that the international community would be responsible for a mass “humanitarian catastrophe” if it does not agree a no-fly zone.

He continued: “Russia uses missiles, aircraft and helicopters against us, against civilians, against our cities, against our infrastructure. It is the humanitarian duty of the world to respond.”

Rachel Hagan

British soldier goes missing amid fears he is heading to Ukraine

A British soldier has gone absent without leave and could be trying to head to Ukraine, an Army source has confirmed to the BBC.

A spokesperson said all service personnel are banned from travelling to Ukraine until further notice, but senior UK military officers have been worried that some British troops may try to join the battle in Ukraine.

Last week the Chief of Defence People, Lt Gen James Swift, stressed that UK military personnel were “not authorised” to travel there.

He said that if anyone suspected that troops were trying to make their way to Ukraine then it should be reported immediately to the service police.

Rachel Hagan

Turkey welcomes more than 20,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia invasion

Turkey has taken in more than 20,000 Ukrainian citizens since the start of Russia’s invasion of the country, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has said.

Mr Soylu said to Turkish media: “We do not discriminate against any race, regardless if they have blonde hair and blue eyes. We are Muslim and we embrace victims wherever they come from.”

He also took a dig at Western states and the UN Security Council, echoing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s criticism of the system. 

He said: “Where is your Security Council? Go ahead and solve this problem.”

Turkey welcomes more than 20,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia invasion

Turkey welcomes more than 20,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia invasion (Image: PA IMAGES)

Rachel Hagan

Bleak scene in Mariupol

The Associated Press is reporting about the scene in besieged Mariupol. They said: “Corpses lie in the streets of Mariupol. Hungry people break into stores in search of food and melt snow for water. Thousands huddle in basements, trembling at the sound of Russian shells pounding the city.”

Similarly, a Ukrainian MP has told the BBC that they think they have just three days of food supplies left available to them before hunger starts to set in.

Rachel Hagan

Amnesty international deem Russian strike a war crime

Amnesty International have said that the Russian air strike that reportedly killed 47 civilians in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv may constitute a war crime.

They said in a statement: “Based on new interviews and the verification and analysis of video evidence, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response team has concluded the attack was mostly likely a Russian air strike in which at least eight unguided aerial bombs – known as ‘dumb bombs’ – were used.

“We were not able to identify a legitimate military target at, or close to, the scene of the strike. Satellite imagery from 28 February shows a queue of people outside the building that was impacted by the strike.

“Based on this imagery and testimony gathered from witnesses, we believe the majority of victims were queuing for food when the missiles struck.

“In dashcam footage of the strike, falling munitions are visible and the sound of what is likely a low quick-passing aircraft can be heard, consistent with the tactics of conducting a strike of this type.

“Dropping unguided bombs in populated areas violates the prohibition of carrying out indiscriminate attacks. Such bombs have wide-area effects and are far less accurate than precision-guided munitions.

“Other verified videos of the aftermath show widespread destruction and at least one distinctive bomb crater, of a size consistent with surface impacted munitions of approximately 500kg.”

The videos from Chernihiv this evening seem an extreme escalation even by the standards of this hideous Russian campaign – suggest the Aleppo option for Ukrainian cities is very much on the table: pic.twitter.com/39RIdCHwYE

u2014 Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) March 3, 2022

Rachel Hagan

Staff at British embassy in Ukraine not offered refuge in UK

The Independent has reported that Ukrainians who worked at the British embassy in Kyiv are being told they will not get refuge in the UK.

The staff have been told that they will only qualify for a visa if they have close relations in the UK.

A number of British diplomats at the embassy are said to be deeply unhappy at the way their Ukrainian colleagues are being treated and do not agree with the decision. They have raised it with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in London.

Some British staff have described what is happening as “Afghanistan part two.”

Staff at the British embassy in Ukraine have been told that entry into the UK is a matter for the Home Office.

However, The Independent approached the Home Office for comment, who said it was a matter for the FCDO. The Independent was referred between the two departments five times.

A former British diplomat who served in Afghanistan said to The Independent: “The UK government promised to learn some lessons after the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. They clearly haven’t done so, because once again we have a situation where hard-working and dedicated embassy staff are not able to get themselves and their families to the UK.

“These are people who have worked for years for the UK, often on work directly at odds with Russian interests. They may be on a Russian list as Afghan colleagues were on Taliban lists. It would be unforgiveable if we let these people down.”

The staff have been told that they will only qualify for a visa if they have close relations

The staff have been told that they will only qualify for a visa if they have close relations in UK (Image: PA IMAGES)

Rachel Hagan

22 killed in Russian air strike

A Russian air strike  killed 22 people – including three children – in the Ukrainian city of Sumy.

Sumy regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyi told BBC News that Russia bombed a residential area in the north-east of city overnight, describing the incident as “mass murder”.

He said: “Three bombs in one evening… It was a terrible night.”

He said:

He said: “Three bombs in one evening… It was a terrible night.” (Image: GETTY)

Rachel Hagan

‘Poles welcomed 1.2m!’ Ex-EU chief Tusk takes swipe at Boris over UK’s refugee effort

Donald Tusk has taken a swipe at Boris Johnson over the UK’s response to the Ukraine refugee crisis.

The former European Council President took to Twitter to compare Poland and Britain’s response to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion. Mr Tusk said: “Solidarity in action.

“The UK has granted 50 visas to the Ukrainian refugees while the Poles have welcomed 1.2 million of Ukrainians in two weeks.

“‘We are generous as we possibly can, we are very, very generous,’ says Boris Johnson.”

Mr Tusk ended his tweet with a face palm emoji, which is commonly used to display frustration or embarrassment.

The ex-European Council President’s intervention comes as more than 2 million refugees have fled Ukraine following the biggest assault on a European country since World War Two.

'Poles welcomed 1.2m!' Ex-EU chief Tusk takes swipe at Boris over UK's refugee effort

‘Poles welcomed 1.2m!’ Ex-EU chief Tusk takes swipe at Boris over UK’s refugee effort (Image: PA IMAGES)

Rachel Hagan

Jacob Rees-Mogg slams MI5 and MI6 ‘distracted’ by woke agenda as Putin invades Ukraine

Jacob Rees-Mogg has attacked MI5 and MI6 for making Britain look weak in the eyes of Vladimir Putin.

Jacob Rees-Mogg slams MI5 and MI6 'distracted' by woke agenda as Putin invades Ukraine

Jacob Rees-Mogg slams MI5 and MI6 ‘distracted’ by woke agenda as Putin invades Ukraine (Image: PA IMAGES)

Rachel Hagan

Ukraine says Russia has agreed to ceasefire on humanitarian corridors

The Ukrainian deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, has said that Russian armed forces have agreed to stop firing in areas of humanitarian corridors from 9am to 9pm local time (7am-7pm GMT) today.

We reported last week, on the brutal reality of humanitarian corridoors. In 2019, the Syrian government with the support of Russia created a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians but those corridors ended up being an excuse to massively shell cities.

Terrified Syrians who were trapped in their homes in Aleppo and Idlib, were told their only means of escape from the besieged cities was through humanitarian corridors. But these were soon branded “death corridors”.

Ms Vereshchuk said the evacuation corridors will be open on Wednesday in several areas including Mariupol, but warned Russian forces against shooting in those areas.

Rachel Hagan

China has accused Nato of pushing tensions between Russia and Ukraine to ‘breaking point’

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian has said moves by NATO have pushed tension between Russia and Ukraine to a “breaking point.”

At a daily news briefing, he urged the United States to take China’s concerns seriously and avoid undermining its rights or interests in handling the Ukraine issue and ties with Russia, Reuters reports.

Rachel Hagan

UN says up to 2.2 million refugees have fled Ukraine

The UN refugee agency estimate that around 2.1 to 2.2 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion two weeks ago. 

UN says up to 2.2 million refugees have fled Ukraine

UN says up to 2.2 million refugees have fled Ukraine (Image: PA IMAGES)

Rachel Hagan

Russian government responds to sanctions

The foreign ministry in Russia says global aviation sanctions could threaten the safety of Russian passenger flights, Russian state media reports.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry Director Dmitry Birichevsky has warned westerns nations that its retaliatory sanctions will be “swift, thoughtful and sensitive”.

Rachel Hagan

Missile attack threat in Kyiv

Regional administration head Oleksiy Kuleba said on the messaging app Telegram: “Kyiv region – air alert. Threat of a missile attack. Everyone immediately to shelters.”

This suggests a Russian attack could be imminent.

Still going but with bigger gaps in between.

This is the grim soundtrack to the lives of millions of Ukrainians. Each blast, roar, tremble of earth brings horrific questions to mind. Who is on the receiving end of this? What has it done to them? Is it going to come here next?

u2014 Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) March 9, 2022

Rachel Hagan

UK makes it illegal for any Russian plane to fly over or land in the UK

Liz Truss’s announcement on the latest round of sanctions means, once legislation has passed, it will now be a criminal offence for any Russian aircraft to fly or land in the UK.

The ban is on any aircraft owned, operated or chartered by anyone connected with Russia or designated individuals or entities.

Ms Truss said: “Banning Russian flagged planes from the UK and making it a criminal offence to fly them will inflict more economic pain on Russia and those close to the Kremlin.

“We will continue to support Ukraine diplomatically, economically and defensively in the face of Putin’s illegal invasion, and work to isolate Russia on the international stage.”

UK makes it illegal for any Russian plane to fly over or land in the UK

UK makes it illegal for any Russian plane to fly over or land in the UK (Image: PA IMAGES)

Rachel Hagan

One alleged Russian aircraft has been impounded already

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has revealed that he has “essentially” impounded one plane already, following the news that UK aviation sanctions can now seize any Russian aircraft.

He told BBC Breakfast: “There is one such aircraft on the ground at Farnborough that I have essentially impounded whilst we carry out further investigations, for the last few days.

“It’s very important that we have the laws available to enable that to happen.”

One alleged Russian aircraft has been impounded already

One alleged Russian aircraft has been impounded already (Image: GETTY)

Rachel Hagan

760 visas have now been granted

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirms 760 visas have now been granted with 22,000 applications and two schemes open for access to the UK. 

Rachel Hagan

Good morning

Good morning I’m Rachel Hagan, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on Ukraine for the next eight hours. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

Email: rachel.hagan@reachplc.com

Harry Byrne

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