*Russia declared a temporary ceasefire on Saturday morning. It opened humanitarian corridors so that residents of the strategically important port city of Mariupol and the smaller Volnovakha could leave safely. Mariupol, in particular, is under heavy fire and the Russians want to avoid civilian casualties, government officials told the Russian press agency TASS.
*But Saturday afternoon it turned out that the Russian army did not respect the truce. Russian forces surrounding the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol continued to shell the city, the city’s deputy mayor told the BBC. The evacuation has therefore been postponed. “Our citizens are ready to escape, but they cannot because of the shelling. It’s insane,” said Sergij Orlov. Ukrainian authorities expected more than 200,000 people to leave the badly damaged city of Mariupol. In peacetime about 450,000 people lived there.
* Nearly 1.37 million people have already fled Ukraine because of the Russian invasion, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on Saturday. The UN expects the flow of refugees to increase to 4 million people if the Russian army advances further and Kiev falls. Most go to Poland and Germany. But also to Finland.
*But Russians also leave their homeland because of the war. The Finnish railways will extend the timetable between the Russian city of Saint Petersburg and the Finnish capital Helsinki, as more and more Russians want to leave their country. The Finnish public broadcaster Yle reported on Saturday that thousands have now arrived. In addition to the express train Allegro, the buses on the approximately 400 kilometer long route are also constantly full.
*Russian forces have now surrounded four cities: Kharkov, Mariupol, Chernihiv and Sumy. Street fights are also reported in the latter city. All four are still in the hands of Ukraine. Fewer air raids were reported in the past 24 hours a day earlier.
*The Ukrainian Defense Ministry reports that they are holding out and that 66,224 compatriots from abroad have returned to fight against the Russians. The number cannot be independently verified.
*The invasion of Ukraine is proceeding according to plan, Russian President Vladimir Putin also said today. “Virtually the entire Ukrainian military infrastructure, especially weapons and ammunition depots, has been destroyed and that was the intention,” he said.
*Putin warned all parties that wanted to enforce no-fly zones over Ukraine that they would automatically join the war for Russia. NATO ultimately did not approve that no-fly zone. Ukraine’s President Volodimir Zelensky has expressed his anger about this once again today. He blames NATO for a lack of support.
*Despite the Russian attack on Ukraine, and the severe Western sanctions in response, the Kremlin does not consider itself isolated. “The world is too big for Europe and America to isolate any country, especially one as big as Russia,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitro Peskov said.
*In the meantime, the red carpet for oligarchs is being rolled up all over the world. Their yachts, luxury cars and castles no longer seem safe. And Russian airline Aeroflot announced on Saturday that it will suspend its international flights from Tuesday, March 8.
*Large companies continue to leave Russia. Samsung, among others, is suspending deliveries of smartphones and computer chips to Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine.
*And even more Russians are banned in sports. For example, the contract of Russian Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin (23) at Haas has been terminated with immediate effect.
*In Ukraine, the shelling and bombing will continue on Saturday evening. “After the evacuation from Mariupol was postponed, the Russian army resumed its offensive,” said Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry.
* On Saturday evening, it was also announced that Russia and Ukraine will hold a third round of talks on Monday. Initially, the third meeting was planned for this weekend.