Ukrainian forces prepare equipment to repel a tank attack on a position in the Luhansk region [Anatolii Stepanov/AFP]

Ukraine’s FM tells US counterpart his country needs fighter jets and air-defence systems to fight Russian invasion.

  • Ukraine’s foreign minister has told his US counterpart in a meeting that his country needs fighter jets and air-defence systems and has called NATO’s refusal to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine a “sign of weakness”.
  • Russia resumes its offensive on the strategic port city of Mariupol after a temporary ceasefire failed, with allegations of violations by both sides.
  • The IMF has warned that the already “serious” global economic impacts of the war in Ukraine would be “all the more devastating” should the conflict escalate.
  • More than 1.2 million people have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries, according to the United Nations.

Here are all the latest updates:

Biden welcomes Visa, Mastercard decisions on Russia

US President Joe Biden, in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has welcomed decisions by Visa and Mastercard to suspend their operations in Russia, says the White House.

“President Biden noted his administration is surging security, humanitarian, and economic assistance to Ukraine and is working closely with Congress to secure additional funding,” a White House readout of the call said.


Biden speaks with Ukraine’s Zelenskyy: White House

US President Joe Biden has spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, says the White House, adding the call lasted for about 30 minutes.

Zelenskyy also tweeted about it, saying he discussed security, financial support for Ukraine and continuation of sanctions against Russia with Biden.

“As part of the constant dialogue, I had another conversation with the President,” Zelenskyy posted.


US condemns new Russian media law

The US has condemned a new law in Russia that threatens jail terms of up to 15 years for spreading what the Kremlin calls “fake news” and urged continued action across sectors to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“We condemn the move by the Russian Federation Council to approve a law threatening prison sentences of up to 15 years for journalists,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement.

The new Russian law makes it illegal to report any event that could discredit the country’s military.


Zelenskyy: Ukraine to get more Starlink terminals

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he has spoken to SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk and announced the country would receive more of its Starlink satellite internet terminals next week.

“Talked to Elon Musk. I’m grateful to him for supporting Ukraine with words and deeds,” Zelenskyy tweeted.

Musk on Thursday said Starlink was the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion.


Mastercard, Visa suspend operations in Russia

Mastercard and Visa are suspending their operations in Russia, the companies said, in the latest blow to the country’s financial system after its invasion of Ukraine.

Mastercard said cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by its network and any card issued outside the country will not work at Russian stores or ATMs.

“We don’t take this decision lightly,” Mastercard said in a statement, adding that it made the move after discussions with customers, partners and governments.

Visa said it’s working with clients and partners in Russia to cease all Visa transactions over the coming days.

“We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed,” Visa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Al Kelly said in a statement.


Canada advises citizens to leave Russia

Canada told its citizens to leave Russia “while commercial means are still available,” saying security conditions were unpredictable and could deteriorate without notice.

“Flight availability is becoming extremely limited … The ability of our embassy to provide consular services in Russia may become severely limited,” Canada’s foreign ministry said in a travel advisory. Canada, like many other Western nations, imposed broad sanctions on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.


Ukrainian negotiator says Russia realising ‘real cost of war’

Talks with Russia are beginning to be “constructive,” a Ukrainian negotiator said, describing what he perceived as an apparent shift in Moscow’s attitude towards Ukrainian resistance and biting international sanctions.

“At the very start of the war, they were insisting on total domination. They weren’t expecting that Ukraine would deliver such severe resistance,” Mykhailo Podolyak told the Canadian daily The Globe and Mail.

“They are starting to realise the real price of war only now. And now we are starting to have constructive negotiations,” added the official, who participated in the first two rounds of talks between Russia and Ukraine, held on the border of Belarus.

A third session of talks is scheduled for Monday, according to the Ukrainian delegation.


Humanitarian situation ‘catastrophic’ in Mariupol: MSF

A senior official from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has warned that the humanitarian situation in the besieged southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol is “catastrophic” and it is vital that civilians be evacuated.

“It is imperative that this humanitarian corridor, which could have been created today but which has not really been put in place following non-respect of the ceasefire, is put in place very quickly to allow the civilian population, women and children, to get out of this city,” MSF’s emergency coordinator in Ukraine, Laurent Ligozat, told the AFP news agency.

He said a lack of drinking water, food, electricity and heating is becoming critical in the city.

“The situation is catastrophic and getting worse day by day,” he added.


INSIDE STORY: Could Russia’s invasion of Ukraine trigger a global food crisis?

Russia’s war on Ukraine has created fears of a global food crisis. The two countries supply a third of the world’s wheat and are major exporters of barley, corn and sunflower oil.

Fighting has disrupted exports, leading to record prices for the staple commodities. Many countries in the Middle East and Africa, such as Egypt and Yemen, depend on wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine.

So, will the higher prices put global food security at risk?

‘Relentless’ Russian shelling in Mariupol: Mayor

Russian forces have intensified shelling in the port city of Mariupol, including with the use of airplanes, the mayor has said.

“The city is in a very, very difficult state of siege,” Vadym Boychenko told Ukrainian TV. “Relentless shelling of residential blocks is ongoing, airplanes have been dropping bombs on residential areas.”

Boychenko said that thousands of children, women and the elderly came under fire as they arrived in the morning for a possible evacuation through a safe passage corridor. Russia had promised to stop the shelling of Mariupol, a port city of 430,000, and Volnovakha, a city in the east.

Russia accused Ukrainian forces of violating the ceasefire.

Capturing Mariupol, which has been fending off the attack for six days, could allow Russia to build a land corridor to Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.


Israeli PM meets Putin in Moscow

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin to discuss the war in Ukraine and later spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Bennett’s spokesperson said.

After his meeting with Putin, Bennett headed to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, his spokesperson said.

French President Emmanuel Macron had spoken to Bennett before he flew to Moscow to brief him on his own conversations with Putin, the Elysée Palace said.

“They will stay in touch with the aim of obtaining a ceasefire, and this in coordination with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz,” an Elysée official said.

Israel, at the behest of Zelenskyy, has offered to mediate in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, though officials have previously played down expectations of any breakthrough.


Hundreds of foreign students trapped in Sumy

At least 1,500 international students are trapped in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Sumy, as shelling from the Russian army continues for a tenth day after humanitarian corridors failed to materialise.

The situation is growing increasingly desperate as the water has been cut to the city for three days, and food supplies are dwindling.

“We are really demoralised, everybody wants to go home,” Precious Ogunbayo, a 21-year-old medical student from Nigeria, told Al Jazeera. “We keep asking for help, but it’s not coming at all.”

Read more here.


Russia-Ukraine conflict escalation ‘devastating’: IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the already “serious” global economic impacts of the war in Ukraine would be “all the more devastating” should the conflict escalate.

A surge in energy and commodity prices, with a barrel of oil now close to $120, have piled on the inflationary hike that the world was already experiencing as economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Price shocks will have an impact worldwide, especially on poor households for whom food and fuel are a higher proportion of expenses,” the IMF said in a statement.


Ukraine FM asks Blinken for jets, air defence systems

Ukraine’s foreign minister has told his US counterpart in a face-to-face meeting that his country needs fighter jets and air-defence systems and called NATO’s refusal to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine a ‘sign of weakness’.

“It’s no secret that the highest demand that we have is in fighter jets, attack aircraft, and air-defence systems,” Dmytro Kuleba said he told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in talks at the Ukraine-Poland border.

The demands came after Moscow resumed its offensive on the key city of Mariupol, after a temporary ceasefire failed amid allegations of violations by Russia and Ukraine.

Read more here.


Blinken meets Ukraine FM Kuleba in show of support

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on the Poland-Ukraine border in a show of solidarity on day 10 of Russia’s invasion of its pro-Western neighbour.

The two spoke for 45 minutes under high security at a border crossing full of refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, discussing more arms for Kyiv’s military and how to keep up global pressure on Moscow.

“I hope the people of Ukraine will be able to see this as a clear manifestation that we have friends who literally stand by us,” Kuleba said after they met at the Korczowa-Krakovets border crossing.

Ukraine is “going to prevail”, Blinken said.


Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

Read all the updates from Saturday, March 5, here.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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