Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Russia says it has alternative buyers for oil and gas

Asked about Russia’s response to Western sanctions on oil and gas, the country’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow had other buyers for its fuel.

Citing Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, who oversees the Russian energy sector, Lavrov told reporters: “We’re not going to try to persuade [the West] to buy oil and gas from us. If they want to replace it that’s fine — we have our sales market elsewhere.”

Lavrov was speaking at a press conference in Antalya, Turkey, following talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.

—Chloé Taylor

Nintendo suspends shipments to Russia

Visitors play Nintendo’s new video game console Switch during its presentation in Tokyo.

Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images

Nintendo says it is suspending shipments to Russia “for the foreseeable future,” becoming the latest big brand to join a growing corporate boycott of the country over the Ukraine war.

The Japanese video game giant said it could no longer sell its Switch consoles and other products in Russia due to logistical challenges in shipping its products there.

Nintendo has also decided to postpone the release of Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp, a military-themed strategy game, “in light of recent world events.”

It comes after Sony’s PlayStation division said it has halted all product sales in Russia.

—Ryan Browne

Putin not refusing to meet Zelenskyy, Russia’s Lavrov says

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov holds a press conference after the Russia-Turkiye-Ukraine tripartite Foreign Ministers meeting in Antalya, Turkiye on March 10, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is open to meeting his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday.

“Putin is not refusing to meet with Zelenskyy, but in order for this to happen we need to do some preliminary work,” Lavrov told a press briefing following talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in the Turkish city of Antalya.

—Chloé Taylor

Ukraine says no progress made on cease-fire in talks with Russia

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba holds a press conference after the Russia-Turkiye-Ukraine tripartite Foreign Ministers meeting in Antalya, Turkiye on March 10, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has told a press briefing that no progress was made toward achieving a cease-fire in negotiations with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Thursday.

The two ministers met in the Turkish city of Antalya on Thursday for talks on the conflict in Ukraine, marking their first meeting since the Russian invasion of the country on Feb. 24.

—Chloé Taylor

UK sanctions seven Russian oligarchs, including Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich

Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich applauds as players celebrate their league title win at the end of the Premier League football match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge in London on May 21, 2017.

Ben Stansall | Afp | Getty Images

Billionaire Roman Abramovich, the outgoing owner of soccer team Chelsea FC, is among seven Russian oligarchs to be hit by UK sanctions on Thursday.

The UK government’s new sanctions list includes further members of Putin’s inner circle, such as Oleg Deripaska, Dmitri Lebedev and Igor Sechin.

All seven men will see their assets frozen and travel restricted.

—Karen Gilchrist

Over 2.3 million people have fled Ukraine

Refugee children fleeing Ukraine are given blankets by Slovakian rescue workers to keep warm at the Velke Slemence border crossing on March 09, 2022 in Velke Slemence, Slovakia.

Christopher Furlong | Getty Images

More than 2.3 million people have fled the conflict in Ukraine as of March 10, the International Organization for Migration said on Thursday.

The IOM — a UN organization — said more than 112,000 of the people who had left Ukraine were third-country nationals.

—Chloé Taylor

Huge Russian convoy making little progress toward Kyiv, UK says

A huge Russian military convoy that has been heading toward Kyiv for more than a week has made little progress in reaching the capital, the UK’s Ministry of Defense said Thursday.

The convoy has suffered losses at the hands of the Ukrainian armed forces, the ministry added in its daily intelligence update.

Meanwhile, recent days had seen a notable decline in overall Russian air activity above Ukraine, UK officials said, noting that this was “likely due to the unexpected effectiveness and endurance of Ukrainian Air Defense forces.”

The UK also confirmed that Russia had deployed conscript troops to Ukraine, despite public assurances from Russian President Vladimir Putin that conscripted personnel would not be sent to the country.

“As casualties mount, President Putin will be forced to draw from across the Russian armed forces and other sources to replace his losses,” the intelligence update said.

—Chloé Taylor

Ukrainian Foreign Minister arrives in Turkey for talks with Russia

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has shared footage of Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba arriving in Turkey, where he will participate in talks with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in the resort city of Antalya.

—Chloé Taylor

Russia quits Europe’s leading human rights organization

Russia said Thursday that it will no longer participate in the Council of Europe, claiming that the EU and NATO were abusing their absolute majority in the group to create a platform for “Western superiority and narcissism.”

The Council of Europe describes itself as the continent’s leading human rights organization. The organization is comprised of 47 countries, including all 27 of the EU’s member states. The majority of NATO’s member countries are also members of the Council of Europe.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that it would cease to take part in the council, claiming that the EU and NATO would continue “the line of destroying the Council of Europe and the common humanitarian legal space in Europe,” Russian state- controlled news agency Tass reported.

“Let them enjoy communicating with each other, without Russia,” the ministry said.

—Chloé Taylor

Oil markets jittery following dramatic sell-off

A driver fills up the tank of his car at the pump of a low-cost Prio Gas Station on the eve of an announced fuel price increase on March 06, 2022, in Portugal.

Horacio Villalobos | CorbisNews | Getty Images

Oil prices were trading higher on Thursday morning, stabilizing at elevated levels following a dramatic sell-off in the previous session.

International benchmark Brent crude futures were last seen trading at $116.86 a barrel, up around 4.8%, while US West Texas Intermediate futures stood at $112.61, around 3.5% higher.

The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday it would call on other members of OPEC+, an influential energy alliance, to boost output given the sanctions on Russian oil over the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei has since sought to temper this message, however, saying via Twitter the country remains committed to the OPEC+ agreement.

Oil prices plunged on Wednesday. Brent futures settled 13% lower at $111.14, registering its biggest one-day drop since April 2020. Brent had climbed to $139 at the start of the week, its highest level since 2008.

WTI futures, meanwhile, tumbled more than 12% to settle at $108.7 per barrel, notching its worst day since Nov. 26. WTI had briefly topped $130 per barrel to hit a 13-year high earlier in the week.

— Sam Meredith

Hitachi suspends exports and manufacturing in Russia

A Hitachi ZX330 excavator at work at the construction site of the Fiztekh Station on the northern extension of Line 10 of the Moscow Underground on 22 November, 2021.

Vladimir Gerdo | tass | Getty Images

Japanese tech giant Hitachi said on Thursday it was suspending exports to Russia and pausing all manufacturing activities within the country “for the time being.”

Products, services and support for electrical power equipment are “indispensable to the daily lives of people” in Russia will be exempted from the suspension, however.

Hitachi said revenues from the Russian market account for around 0.5% of its consolidated revenues forecast for the financial year ending March 2022.

—Chloé Taylor

Ukraine announces evacuation routes from 7 cities

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said there will be seven civilian evacuation routes on Thursday.

Six of the routes will take civilians fleeing heavy fighting in Trostyanets, Krasnopillya, Sumy, Mariupol, Volnovakha and Izyum to other parts of the country, while another will transport people from the outskirts of Kyiv into the center of the city.

Many attempts to evacuate civilians have been halted in recent days, with Ukrainian authorities accusing Russian forces of violating cease-fire agreements, attacking the agreed evacuation routes, and only permitting civilians to flee to Russia.

—Chloé Taylor

‘Close the sky and stop the bombing’: Ukraine’s Zelenskyy urges allies to create a no-fly zone

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a press conference in Kyiv on March 3, 2022.

Sergey Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has renewed his call for Western allies to create a no-fly zone over the country, saying any further delay will be “too late” to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.

“We are speaking about closing the sky. You can’t decide to close or not to close, you can’t decide,” Zelenskky said in an interview with Sky News.

“Don’t wait [for] asking me several times, a million times, to close the sky. No. You have to phone us … our people who lost their children and say: ‘Sorry we didn’t do it yesterday, one week ago. We didn’t push Putin, we didn’t speak with him a lot, we didn’t find the dialogue with him. We did nothing.'”

“And it’s true. Yesterday, the world did nothing. I’m sorry but it is true,” Zelenskky said, calling on policymakers to act faster to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

“Close the sky and stop the bombing,” he said.

When asked about Western concerns of a no-fly zone bringing about a direct confrontation with Russia, making the situation even worse, Zelenskky replied: “So, it would be worse for whom? For our families? No, for whom? For them? No, who knows? Nobody knows. But we know that exactly that now is very bad. And in future, it will be too late.”

— Sam Meredith

Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers to meet for talks

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba briefs media after a General Assembly meeting discussing the situation in Ukraine at the UN’s headquarters.

Lev Radin | lightrocket | Getty Images

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is set to meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Antalya, Turkey, on Thursday for talks.

The two ministers will hold separate press conferences following the meeting.

—Chloé Taylor

IMF approves $1.4 billion in emergency funding to Ukraine

The seal for the International Monetary Fund is seen near the World Bank headquarters (R) in Washington, DC on January 10, 2022.

Stefani Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

The International Monetary Fund has approved $1.4 billion in emergency funding to support Ukraine’s economy, citing the devastating humanitarian crisis and destruction of infrastructure as a result of Russia’s invasion.

More than 2 million people are estimated to have fled Ukraine since Russia’s onslaught started two weeks ago.

“The Russian military invasion of Ukraine has been responsible for a massive humanitarian and economic crisis,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.

“The tragic loss of life, huge refugee flows, and immense destruction of infrastructure and productive capacity is causing severe human suffering and will lead to a deep recession this year. Financing needs are large, urgent, and could rise significantly as the war continues, she added.

Earlier this week, the World Bank approved a package of grants and loans totaling $723 million to Ukraine.

— Sam Meredith

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