MARIUPOL city is now “near a human catastrophe” after being blown apart by over 15 hour of non-stop bombing and shelling.
Russian forces have allegedly been indiscriminately shelling the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, home to almost 450,000 people, for the past day, with unconfirmed reports claiming hundreds have been killed.
Mariupol’s mayor accused the Russians of carrying out “genocide” on his city, while his deputy claimed an entire neighbourhood – home to 130,000 people – has been flattened.
Serhiy Orlov told the BBC: “The Russian army is working through all their weapons here – artillery, multiple rocket launch systems, airplanes, tactical rockets. They are trying to destroy the city,”
Meanwhile, Putin has ordered his invading forces to “erase” Ukrainians, President Zelenskyy yesterday claimed.
Speaking about the vile shelling of Babyn Yar – the site of a World War II massacre of Jews by Nazi forces, Zelenskyy said “This strike proves that for many people in Russia our Kyiv is absolutely foreign.
“They don’t know a thing about Kyiv, about our history. But they all have orders to erase our history, erase our country, erase us all,” he added.
On Monday Russia‘s military warned residents to leave the Ukrainian capital Kyiv ahead of a fresh wave of planned strikes as a 40-mile long column of tanks and artillery continues to snake towards the city.
Follow our Russia-Ukraine live blog below for up to the minute updates…
38 countries have referred Russia to the International Criminal Court – the most ever
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said the referral of Russia to the International Criminal Court by 38 countries, including the UK, was the largest referral in the court’s history.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “Putin’s military machine is targeting civilians indiscriminately and tearing through towns across Ukraine.
“An investigation by the International Criminal Court into Russia’s barbaric acts is urgently needed and it is right that those responsible are held to account. The UK will work closely with allies to ensure justice is done.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab added: “The critical task now is to preserve properly all evidence of war crimes.
“Any Russian leader or officer carrying out orders that amount to war crimes should know they face ending up in the dock of a court and ultimately in prison.”
The International Criminal Court (ICC) investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the most serious crimes of concern to the international community including genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.
Wreckage from downed Russian missile caused blast near Kyiv station
An explosion near Kyiv’s central train station on Wednesday evening was caused by falling wreckage from a Russian missile that was downed by Ukrainian air defence, Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said in an online post.
The falling debris hit a heating pipe, causing the blast, but caused far less damage and casualties than if the missile had hit its target in central Kyiv, he said, without saying if anyone had been hurt in the explosion.
US Secretary of State: Russia rhetoric is dangerous
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said Russia’s rhetoric is “dangerous.”
Taking questions from the press, he said: “Russia and the United States have long agreed that the actual use of nuclear weapons would be devastating and have devastating consequences for the entire world.”
“As we have stated many times, including earlier this year… both of our countries have stated a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
Blinken added the “provocative rhetoric about nuclear weapons is the height of irresponsibility”.
He added: “It’s dangerous, it adds to the risk of miscalculation, it needs to be avoided, We have assessed President Putin’s directives and his statements and at this time we see no reason to change our own alert levels.”
UK aid agencies launch appeal to help Ukrainian refugees
Leading British aid agencies have launched a joint fundraising appeal to help more than 750,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine as the Russian invasion “turns lives upside down”.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a group of 15 charities, began the effort on Thursday, with one member executive describing the situation as one of the most “heartbreaking” he had ever seen.
Every pound donated by the British public will be matched by the Government through its Aid Match scheme up to the value of £20 million, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
Thirteen DEC member organisations including British Red Cross and ActionAid are responding in Ukraine and its neighbouring countries to the Russian invasion, according to the committee.
Among those on the ground was Andrew Morley, chief executive of World Vision International, who has returned from Siret on the Romanian border where he saw relief operations in action.
He said: “We support children in countless crises across the world, including those I have recently visited such as Syria and the DRC, but I have never seen a more heartbreaking situation.
“All the children I met were crossing the border in tears, with pain and fear in their eyes. They were lost and scared. They need the basics, simple, practical help.
“Our staff have been present in this area for decades and there on the ground to deliver it, but we need financial support to do this.”
Explosion recorded near Kyiv train station
The Ukrainian interior ministry says there was a “powerful” explosion near Kyiv’s central train station.
It came as France’s President Macron said Russian forces had begun bombarding the capital city.
H&M pauses sales in Russia
H&M has become the latest brand to pause all sales in Russia in light of the Ukraine invasion.
The retailer said it will “stand with all the people who are suffering”.
A statement said: “H&M Group has decided to temporarily pause all sales in Russia.”
Ukraine says Russian planes shot down in Kharkiv
A Ukrainian official has claimed Russian planes had been shot down
However, the person did not clarify how many.
Kharkiv has been under intense shelling today, leaving 21 people dead and 112 injured in the attack on the country’s second city.
Major Tory donor says Putin is ‘insane’
Alexander Temerko, a major Tory donor from the former Soviet Union, has offered his take on the Russian president’s state of mind.
Speaking to BBC radio, he said of Vladimir Putin: “I think he’s driving in ambition, like a collector of land, and he tries to restore the Soviet Union.
“He doesn’t understand, deeply, profoundly, doesn’t understand what Ukraine now is.”
Asked if the Russian President is like a James Bond villain who could launch nuclear weapons to save himself, Mr Temerko said: “Sorry, he is insane and an idiot, but not Doctor Evil. He is an old man who is not well, probably, and not well mentally.
“Today only two forces can help stop Russia, that is the Ukraine army and the Ukrainian people, and second the solidarity of all democratic worlds.”
All you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Everything you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…
Ukraine invasion: The latest developments
Roman Abramovich is SELLING Chelsea
Roman Abramovich has confirmed he is selling Chelsea FC.
And the Russian will donate the net proceeds to ‘all victims of the war in Ukraine’.
A statement read: “I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC. As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart.
“In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the Club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners.
“The sale of the Club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process. I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and Club.
“Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery. Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the Club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the Club.
“I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person. It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart.
Thank you, Roman.”
Russia committing ‘full-scale genocide’ in smashed Ukraine port
RUSSIAN forces have allegedly been indiscriminately shelling the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, home to almost 450,000 people, for the past day, with unconfirmed reports claiming hundreds have been killed.
Mariupol’s mayor accused the Russians of carrying out “genocide” on his city, while his deputy claimed an entire neighbourhood home to 130,000 people has been flattened.
Read more here.
Hi all, Joe Gamp signing in
I’ll be bringing you all the latest weather developments in Ukraine – as they happen – until 10pm this evening.
UN condemns invasion
The UN General Assembly has voted in favour of a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion.
They have called for Russia to immediately pull all of its forces out of Ukraine.
The resolution was supported by 141 of the body’s 193 members at a rare emergency General Assembly session called by the UN Security Council.
Close to 900,000 have fled Ukraine
The UN Refugee Agency says 874,026 people have left Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion last Thursday.
Poland claim to have received more than half that total.
The UNHCR has appealed for nearly £1.5bn for its relief operation and have said the original prediction that up to four million Ukrainians could end up fleeing the country might be an underestimate.
Nearly 500 Russian troops killed according to Russia’s defence ministry
The first figures have been released, since the start of the invasion, of deaths and wounded by Russia’s defence ministry.
It says 498 Russian soldiers have been killed and 1,597 wounded so far, according to Russian media reports.
The claim is significantly less than Ukraine’s assessment of Russian casualties with Kyiv claiming it has killed 5,840 Russian troops.
Kyiv has not given figures for the number of Ukrainian military killed and injured.
We cannot independently verify either the Russian or Ukrainian claims, but the UK Ministry of Defence believes that Moscow’s forces have suffered heavy losses.
Putin’s chief says global conflict would be ‘nuclear and destructive’
VLADIMIR Putin’s right hand man chillingly warned World War 3 will be “nuclear and destructive”.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov made the grim prediction as the West remains at loggerheads with Moscow over Ukraine.
Lavrov – who yesterday saw diplomats walk out of his speech at the United Nations – became the latest figure to raise the spectre of World War 3.
And for now the West is refusing to send in troops or even impose a no fly zone under the fears of triggering a wider war with Putin.
Western officials are instead imposing crushing sanctions in a bid to strangle and starve out Putin’s regime.
Zelenskyy is awaiting news on Ukraine’s bid to join EU
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday after talking on the phone with European Council President Charles Michel he was waiting for news on Kyiv’s bid to join the European Union.
“We discussed the current situation on the battlefield and diplomatic efforts.
“Waiting for the positive signals about Ukraine’s membership in the EU,” Zelenskiy said calling Michel, who chairs the EU national leaders, Ukraine’s “trusted friend”.
Russian policy adviser ‘depressed’ by Putin’s invasion
Russian foreign policy adviser, Dr Andrey Kortunov, has said he is ‘depressed’ and ’embarrassed’ by Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
Speaking to Sky News, he claims he had previously advised going into Ukraine would have a “substantial” price to pay.
He said: “I thought going into Ukraine was not in Russia’s interests, bearing in mind the collateral damage that would come from such a move.
“I’m trying to keep going but all of us are depressed, all of us. I think it is very embarrassing, not just because we turned out to be wrong, but to all Russians who are in a difficult position. There are many questions to which we do not have answers.”
He added: “There are many people in the Kremlin who should be depressed – because the price is substantial.”
Biden gives stark warning to Putin
DOZENS of US fighter jets have been showcased in an “elephant walk” at an airbase in Japan as Washington displays its military might.
It comes as Joe Biden branded Russian president Vladimir Putin a “dictator”, warning he has “no idea what’s coming” amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Pictures show two dozen F-15C/D Eagles, assigned to the 44th and 67th Fighter Squadrons, taxiing during a wing readiness exercise at Kadena Air Base in Japan.
A HH-60 Pavehawk chopper can be seen in front of the impressive fleet of jets.
US president Biden brands Putin ‘a dictator’
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden branded Vladimir Putin a “dictator”.
In his first State of the Union address, he warned the West’s sanction campaign to cripple Russia’s economy would escalate and its oligarchs were being targeted.
Biden hailed the resolve of the Western alliance and voiced solidarity with Ukraine as lawmakers gave a standing ovation to the Ukrainian people.
“A Russian dictator, invading a foreign country, has costs around the world,” he said.
The president, who had earlier spoken with Zelenskyy on the phone, announced new measures against Russia and its wealthy elite with a new task force to go after the “crimes” of Russian oligarchs.
Biden said Putin’s aggression was “premeditated and totally unprovoked” – but hailed the resolve of the Western alliance in responding with brutal sanctions.
He repeated his commitment that no American troops would be sent to Ukraine to confront the invading forces.
Second round of talks to take place
It has been reported that a second round of talks between representatives of the Russian and Ukrainian governments are to take place.
The two sides met on Monday, but with no obvious results.
A Russian delegation is reportedly heading to a meeting point for talks, according to Belarus’ Belta news agency.
It did not say where, or when, the discussions would take place.
Russian soldier cries on video call to his mother after surrendering
A Russian soldier who surrendered has been filmed crying while on a video call with his mum.
He is given tea, food & comfort by Ukrainian citizens after laying down his weapon.
Sharing the video, Anastasia Lapatina posted: “A Russian soldier surrendered. Ukrainians gave him tea, food, and let him call his mother on video.
“I want to cry from how much I love my country.”
Ukraine war: The latest developments