UKRAINE UPDATES: Zelensky invokes Churchill; Biden bans Russian oil; civilians flee cities; McDonald’s, Starbucks close stores in Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses UK parliament on Tuesday evening. Credit: the Guardian | YouTube

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hits the two-week mark, here’s the latest headlines…

• A new ceasefire in the northeastern city of Sumy is expected to allow more civilians to flee to safety.

• On Tuesday, about 7,000 people were evacuated from the city, which Russian has bombarded for days. Already 22 people were killed in air strikes on the city on Monday night, including three children.

• Russian state media said humanitarian corridors will also be set up for Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol, despite previous efforts having failed.

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• Moscow says Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with Ukrainian’s Dmytro Kuleba in Turkey on Thursday.

• Meanwhile, fighting continues to the north and northwest of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv,as Russian forces continue their offensive.

• In an unprecedented address to UK MPs in the House of Commons, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky referenced Winston Churchill…

“We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets.”

• His speech followed the UK’s announcement that it would phase out Russian oil imports by year’s end. He urged the UK Parliament to strengthen sanctions against Moscow, vowing Ukraine will “fight to the end.”

• Likewise, US President Joe Biden has announced a ban on Russian energy imports to the US. Biden confirmed a complete US ban on Russian oil, gas and coal imports in a move designed to deal a “powerful blow” to Putin. The EU has also made moves towards reducing the continent’s reliance on Russian gas.

• The US is also sending two Patriot missile batteries to Poland as a “defensive deployment” to counter any potential threat to US and NATO allies during Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, a spokesman for US European Command said Tuesday night.

• CIA chief William Burns claims Russian President Vladimir Putin originally planned to seize Ukraine’s capital Kyiv within two days. Speaking at a congressional hearing on Tuesday, he warned US lawmakers…

“I think Putin is angry and frustrated right now. He’s likely to double down and try to grind down the Ukrainian military with no regard for civilian casualties.”

Moreover, Burns claimed Putin has been “stewing in a combustible combination of grievance and ambition for many years.”

• A Russian airstrike in the Ukrainian city of Sumy has killed at least 21 civilians, including 2 children, Ukrainian officials say. A planned evacuation route to help civilians flee the city, closed on Tuesday evening after experiencing Russian attacks in recent days.

• Civilians have been successfully fleeing the Ukrainian cities of Sumy and Irpin, near Kyiv, via evacuation routes. On Tuesday, about 5,000 people and 1,000 cars evacuated the city of Sumy in northeastern Ukraine, according to Kirill Timoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office. The UN estimates at least least 2 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion.

• McDonald’s and Starbucks are shutting their restaurants and cafes in Russia, and Coca-Cola is likewise suspending its operations in the country, following pressure to join a corporate boycott in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. PepsiCo is also reportedly pulling some of its products from the country. McDonald’s had 847 locations in Russia at the close of 2021, an investor document shows. According to CEO Chris Kempczinski, its restaurant closures are “temporary”…

“McDonald’s has decided to temporarily close all our restaurants in Russia and pause all operations in the market.”

SOURCES: CNN | BBC | the Guardian

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