Foreign ministers set for talks

Foreign ministers set for talks

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The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine are set for face-to-face talks in Turkey in the first high-level contact between the two sides since the war started.
The Pentagon reaffirms United States’ opposition to Poland’s offer to send fighter jets to Ukraine, saying transfer risks escalating crisis.
United Nations officials condemn the bombing of a children’s hospital in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
Ukraine has accused Russia of bombing the children’s hospital and maternity ward, injuring at least 17 people.

Ukraine announces first successful mass evacuation

IMF approves $1.4bn in emergency funding support for Ukraine
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Will a ban on Russia’s oil imports stop the war in Ukraine?
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Ukraine accuses Russia of bombing children’s hospital in Mariupol
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Photos: Russian bombing destroys hospital in Ukraine’s Mariupol

Lavrov and Kuleba begin talks in Turkey
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba have begun talks a spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry has said.

The meeting has started, Maria Zakharova told reporters.

The discussion was being brokered by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

People flee as humanitarian crisis deepens in Ukraine

More than 1.4 million Ukrainians have fled to Poland since invasion
About 1.43 million people have crossed into Poland from Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, the Polish Border Guard has said.

The border guard said in a tweet that on Wednesday about 117,600 people crossed the border. As of 06:00 GMT on Thursday around 22,000 people had crossed.

UK says Russian commanders will be held to account for war crimes
Russian military commanders as well as people at the very top of the Russian government will be held to account for any war crimes in Ukraine, Britain’s armed forces minister said.

Russian commanders need to remember that war crimes are not just committed by those at the very top of the Russian government, James Heappey told Sky News.

They are committed all the way down the chain of command by all who are involved and these atrocities are being watched, they’re being catalogued and people will be held to account.

Ukraine’s foreign minister in Turkey for talks with Russia’s Lavrov
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, has arrived in Turkey for talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, Ukrainian television reported.

More than 10,000 people evacuated around Kyiv
Oleksiy Kuleba, regional governor of Kyiv, says more than 10,000 people have been evacuated from villages and cities around Ukraine’s capital.
Russian column outside Kyiv makes little progress: UK
The United Kingdom’s defence ministry has said the large Russian column northwest of Kyiv has made little progress in more than a week and is suffering continued losses.

As casualties mount, Russian President Vladimir Putin will be forced to draw from across Russian armed forces and other sources to replace the losses, the ministry said in a statement.

There has also been a notable decrease in overall Russian air activity over Ukraine in recent days, it added.

Russia says claim that it bombed a children’s hospital is fake news
Russia has refuted a Ukrainian claim that it bombed the children’s hospital in Mariupol as fake news, saying the building was a former maternity hospital that had long been taken over by troops.

That’s how fake news is born, Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said on Twitter.

Polyanskiy said Russia had warned on March 7 that the hospital had been turned into a military object from which Ukrainians were firing.

US ban on Russian oil imports heads to vote in House of Representatives
A majority in the US House of Representatives has voted to impose a ban on imports of Russian oil and other energy products.

With the vote still under way, the Democratic-controlled House was poised to pass the bill after President Joe Biden used his executive powers to impose such a ban.
US House passes Ukraine aid, gov’t funding measure
A majority in the US House of Representatives has voted to approve a $1.5 trillion bill that would provide $13.6bn in aid for Ukraine and fund the federal government through September 30.

The vote was still under way. If approved by the House, the sweeping legislation would move on to the Senate.
UNICEF says at least 37 children killed in Ukraine
At least 37 children have been killed and 50 injured in less than two weeks, UNICEF executive director Catherine Russell has said, adding that more than one million children were forced to flee.

Attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure including hospitals, water and sanitation systems and schools are unconscionable and must stop immediately, Russell said in a statement.

The children of Ukraine desperately need peace.

US speeds licensing for gun, ammunition shipments to Ukraine
The US is rapidly processing requests from Americans to export firearms and ammunition to Ukraine, the US commerce department has said.

The department said it had imposed export controls on Russia to degrade its ability to sustain military aggression and Americans should check agency regulations to see if a licence was needed to ship specific firearms to Ukraine.

The department has been processing requests rapidly for the export of firearms and ammunition to Ukraine under its existing processes and authorities, a department spokesperson said.

Americans are donating thousands of sets of body armour and millions of rounds of ammunition in response to Ukraine’s pleas for military support.

Zelenskyy says 35,000 civilians evacuated from Ukrainian cities
At least 35,000 civilians were evacuated from besieged Ukrainian cities on Wednesday, Zelenskyy has said.

In a video address, the Ukrainian leader said three humanitarian corridors had allowed residents to leave the cities of Sumy, Enerhodar and areas around Kyiv.

War-related inflation may drive protests and riots, World Bank warns
Soaring energy and food prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could exacerbate existing food security concerns in the Middle East and Africa, and may fuel growing social unrest, World Bank chief economist Carmen Reinhart has said.

There will be important ramifications for the Middle East, for Africa, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, which had already been experiencing food insecurity, Reinhart told Reuters news agency.

I don’t want to be melodramatic, but it’s not a far stretch that food insecurity and riots were part of the story behind the Arab Spring, she said, adding that successful and unsuccessful coups had increased over the past two years.

Zelenskyy believes Russia’s Putin will soon negotiate
Zelenskyy has said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will eventually enter negotiations and end the invasion, after seeing Russian forces encounter fierce resistance from Ukrainians.

I think he will. I think he sees that we are strong, Zelenskyy said in an interview with Vice from Kyiv, adding we need some time.

How to stop this war? Only dialogue, he said.

When asked what his message to Putin would be, Zelenskyy said: Stop the war. Begin to speak. That’s it.

Biden to discuss developments with Turkey’s Erdogan
US President Joe Biden will hold a phone call with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the latest developments involving Russia and Ukraine, the White House has said.

Top US, Ukraine diplomats discuss additional aid for Ukraine
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, in a phone call, discussed additional security and humanitarian support for Ukraine, the State Department has said.

Blinken and Kuleba also discussed Russia’s unconscionable attacks harming population centers, the statement said.

For his part, Kuleba said his call with Blinken was on further steps to strengthen Ukraine’s defence capabilities.

Zelenskyy calls hospital bombing war crime
Ukraine’s Zelenskyy has described the attack on a children’s hospital in the southeastern city of Mariupol as a war crime after it prompted international condemnation.

We have not done and would never do anything like this war crime in any of the cities of the Donetsk or Luhansk regions, or of any region because we are people. But are you? Zelenskyy said, switching to Russian to make his point.

What kind of a country is Russia, that it is afraid of hospitals and maternity wards and destroys them? he said. The air bomb on the maternity hospital is the final proof. Proof that the genocide of Ukrainians is taking place.

Zelenskyy also reiterated his call for Western powers to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine to prevent more attacks.

Together we must return courage to some Western leaders. So that they finally do what they had to do on the first day of the invasion. Either close the Ukrainian sky from Russian missiles and bombs, or give us fighter jets so that we can do everything ourselves, he said.

Timeline: Week two of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
As the war in Ukraine enters its third week, Al Jazeera examines the major events that marked the second week of hostilities, from a US ban on Russian oil and gas imports to attempts to evacuate civilians from Ukrainian cities under siege and the displacement of more than two million refugees.

IMF approves $1.4bn emergency funding for Ukraine
The International Monetary Fund has said its executive board approved $1.4bn in emergency financing for Ukraine to help meet urgent spending needs and mitigate the economic effect of Russia’s military invasion.

The Russian military invasion of Ukraine has been responsible for a massive humanitarian and economic crisis, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said, predicting a deep recession in Ukraine this year.

Financing needs are large, urgent and could rise significantly as the war continues, she said. Once the war was over, Ukraine was likely to need additional large support.

The global lender said Ukrainian authorities had cancelled an existing stand-by lending arrangement with the IMF, but would work with the fund to design an appropriate economic programme focused on rehabilitation and growth when conditions permit.

White House dismisses Russia’s claims of US involvement in biological warfare labs
The White House has said Russia’s claims about alleged US involvement in biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine were false.

We took note of Russia’s false claims about alleged US biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a series of tweets.

She said Russia could possibly be laying the groundwork for the use of chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine or to create a false flag operation using them but did not offer evidence.

Ukrainian MP says people forced to drink contaminated water
Ukrainian Member of Parliament Lesia Vasylenko says it is currently impossible for many Ukrainians to access clean water amid the fighting, forcing many to drink contaminated water and causing several cases of dehydration.

It’s impossible to get food or water, Vasylenko told Al Jazeera. People are drinking contaminated water from the sewage system or children are forced to take snow or what remains of the snow just to stay hydrated.

The situation, she added, demonstrates how inhumane the methods Russia is using against the Ukrainian civilian population are.

Evacuees flee cities amid Russian shelling