Foreign military aid continues to pour in for Ukraine

Source: 1News

A recap of developments from Ukraine on the eighth day of Russia's invasion.

What you need to know

- The UN General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to demand that Russia stop its invasion of Ukraine. The vote was 141 to five, with 35 abstentions.

- Russian President Vladimir Putin is being accused of committing war crimes by Ukraine's leaders and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

- A delegation from Ukraine and Russia are en route to Belarus for a second round of talks.

- A US defence official says the kilometres-long Russian convoy spotted on satellite imagery still appears to be stalled outside Kyiv’s city centre.

- The UN says more than 870,000 people have fled Ukraine since fighting started last week, and that number could soon hit 1 million.

Live updates

10.15pm: This concludes the night's updates. Join us tomorrow from 6am for the latest from Ukraine on Breakfast and here on 1News.co.nz.

10.10pm: More military aid being supplied to Ukraine, this time from Germany.

AFP reports Germany will deliver 2700 further anti-air missiles to Ukraine as per a govt source.

8.44pm: The IPC have done a u-turn, now banning all Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in the Winter Paralympics.

It follows major backlash in the last 12 hours, since it was decided the athletes could compete.

In a statement the IPC say they’ve decided to ‘decline athlete entries’ because multiple NPC’s, teams and athletes were threatening not to compete, jeopardising the viability of the Games and that the situation in the athlete villages in escalating and ensuring the safety of athletes has become untenable.

1News was scheduled to have a one one with the IPC President today, but it was cancelled at last minute due to “urgent internal meetings”.

Winter Paralympics 2022 meeting.

7.44pm: Russian soldiers were seen getting supplies from a store in Kherson on Wednesday.

6.52pm: Russia's leaders are facing a war crime investigation as more aggressive assaults are killing more civilians. As global condemnation grows, Vladimir Putin is facing being an international outcast for years.

The latest from 1News' US correspondent Anna Burns Francis.

6.36pm: Air raid sirens can be heard in live streams from Ukraine's capital Kyiv. Residents have been bracing themselves as Russian forces have bombarded the city in the past week.

6.21pm: New photos from the Associated Press

In village streets, city basements and train stations, the faces of Ukrainians reflected the steep emotional toll a week into Russian's invasion of their country.

Flames and smoke rise from a damaged gym following shelling in Kyiv.

Volunteer fighters in their 60s picked through the remains of shattered homes as elderly neighbors wept at the destruction caused by what residents called a Russian airstrike in Gorenka, a village on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital that has found itself in the crossfire as Moscow attempts to take Kyiv.

6.03pm: From the Associated Press

A string of seven bus-size Russian military ambulances - their windows blocked with gray shades - pulled up to the back entrance of the main hospital about 48 kilometers from the border with Ukraine on Wednesday, ferrying casualties from the front.

The convoy was part of what residents and doctors said has in recent days become a steady flow of Russian soldiers wounded in fierce fighting around Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, where a Russian advance has stalled in the face of strong resistance.

A doctor at the hospital - which is in southern Belarus’s Gomel region, a main staging ground for Russia’s offensive - said injured Russian troops began arriving on Monday. “I hope they don’t jail me for sharing this,” she said.

5.44pm: Forbes is reporting a Russian oligarch's yacht has been seized by German authorities due to ongoing EU sanctions as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov's US$600 million (NZ$880 million) yacht has been previously assessed as the largest motor yacht in the world by gross tonnage.

Usmanov had been sanctioned as part of a wider list of Russian oligarchs who were banned from entering the EU and had assets frozen.

5.07pm: Video emerges of Russian Su-25 attack aircraft conducting an air strike in Irpin.

4.50pm: From the Australian Associated Press

ACT police are investigating a suspicious package that was delivered to the Russian embassy in Canberra.

Police and Hazmat crews were called to the embassy just after 10am on Thursday.

A police spokesman told AAP the contents of the package were being assessed, with the public asked to avoid the area until further notice.

The embassy had been site of protests in recent days, following Russia's decision to invade Ukraine last week.

Police have closed off some of the roads surrounding the embassy to traffic.

4.14pm: From the Associated Press

Ukraine's most vulnerable are among those fleeing Russia's war.

In the Hungarian town of Zahony, more than 200 Ukrainians with disabilities - residents of two care homes in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv - disembarked into the cold wind on a train station platform after an arduous escape from the violence gripping Ukraine.

The refugees, many of them children, have serious mental and physical disabilities, and were evacuated from their care facilities once the Russian assault on the capital intensified.

“It wasn't safe to stay there, there were rockets, they were shooting at Kyiv,” said Larissa Leonidovna, the director of the Svyatoshinksy orphanage in Kyiv. “We spent more than an hour underground during a bombing.”

3.44pm: Thousands of US troops are currently en route to Europe as NATO allies make a display of force aimed at deterring further aggression by Russia.

Soldiers left with less than a week's notice and are expected to be in Europe for six months. Read more here.

3.17pm: Japan's prime minister Fumio Kishida has said his country will accept refugees from Ukraine.

The Japan Times reports that Kishida said the country will initially focus on refugees who have relatives or acquaintances in Japan.

Japan has long accepted few refugees, with only 91 accepted on humanitarian grounds or granted refugee status in 2020.

2.50pm: Over one million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, according to the head of the United Nations refugee agency.

"In just seven days we have witnessed the exodus of one million refugees from Ukraine to neighbouring countries," Filippo Grandi says.

"For many millions more, inside Ukraine, it’s time for guns to fall silent, so that life-saving humanitarian assistance can be provided."

2.17pm: More reports of failed Russian incursions are being posted by the Ukrainian side, with images of seemingly abandoned Russian vehicles appearing online.

1.41pm: From the Associated Press:

Zelensky’s office says fighting is still occurring around the port city of Kherson, which Russian officials have said is in their “complete control”.

Zelensky’s office told The Associated Press that it can't comment on the situation there while the battle is still being waged.

Kherson, a city of 300,000, is strategically located on the banks of the Dnieper River near where it flows into the Black Sea. If Russian troops take the city, they could unblock a water canal and restore water supplies to the Crimean Peninsula.

The battle in the Kherson region began last Thursday, the first day of the invasion, and by the next day the Russian forces were able to take a bridge that connects the city with territory on the western bank.

1.20pm: They say life imitates art.

As conflict rages on in Ukraine, countries are snapping up the rights to Servant of the People — a comedy series starring the Ukrainian President, as the Ukrainian President.

Back in 2015, former actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky played Vasiliy Petrovich Goloborodko, a high school teacher propelled to the presidency after a student’s video of him denouncing official corruption in Ukraine goes viral.

Eccho Rights has distributed the program, made by Zelensky’s Studio Kvartel 95, since it launched. The company’s managing partner, Nicola Söderlund, said sales have increased dramatically in the last few days, calling interest in the program “remarkable.”

“It’s quite an old show already,” he explains. “But, of course, given the circumstances, it’s become very, very, very interesting for everybody.”

Read the full story from the Associated Press here.

1.10pm: 1News Europe correspondent Daniel Faitaua is at Ukraine’s border with Romania.

A man fleeing from Kharkiv tells Faitaua he is escaping from bombs and gunfire.

A man fleeing from fighting in Kharkiv, Ukraine, tells 1News there's no peace in his city.

“There is no peace… we can’t live normal… it’s just awful,” he says.

He asks Putin: “Why is all this? You can just stop this.”

12.58pm: A wrap of the morning's developments from BBC:

12.42pm: Fighting is continuing in Kherson, a city in Ukraine's south that has been under heavy shelling from Russian forces. But, it's not clear who holds control of the city.

Its mayor Igor Kolykhaev says on Facebook there were "armed visitors" in the city council.

"I made no promises to them... I have nothing else to offer yet", Kolykhaev says.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov says Kolykhaev is under his soldiers' "complete control". The Ukrainian military denied this earlier.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon says the Ukrainians are fighting in Kherson, and it's not able to make a call yet who has the upper hand.

12.30pm: Oil prices surged as high as US$110 a barrel overnight (NZ$160) as analysts expect markets will be in short supply for months as major companies divest from Russian oil assets.

Earlier on Wednesday, the US said it was "very open" to potentially imposing sanctions on the Russian oil and gas industry.

Kiwi economic and political commentator Bernard Hickey says the price shocks may be a concern in New Zealand. His analysis here:

12:00pm: Georgia's governing party says its decision to immediately prepare an application to join the EU comes in light of what is happening in Ukraine and a "new reality", the BBC reports.

The party's chairman Irakli Kobakhidze says he wants the EU to review the application "in an urgent manner".

In 2008, Russia launched an attack on Georgia. It was over within days. But, about a fifth of Georgia's internationally-recognised territory remans under Russian military occupation.

The former Soviet republic's move follows a similar application made by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday.

Zelensky posted photos of himself signing the EU application, a largely symbolic move that could take years to become reality and is unlikely to sit well with Putin, who has long accused the West of trying to pull Ukraine into its orbit.

11.33am: The Guardian reports International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan says in a statement he will "immediately proceed with active investigations" into the war in Ukraine.

It follows a referral from the UK and its allies.

"Our work in the collection of evidence has now commenced.”

11.25am: The NZ Super Fund, ACC, Government Superannuation Fund, and the National Provident Fund have issued a joint statement saying they have excluded Russian sovereign debt and the securities of majority Russian state-owned enterprises from their respective funds.

“The four investors will sell their directly held assets as market conditions permit,” the statement reads.

It follows “widespread condemnation or sanctions by the international community” over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, it says.

“With regard to majority Russian state-owned companies, the investors took into account relevant factors under their respective frameworks, including the strength and scale of the international response and the New Zealand Government’s public position on the invasion, in addition to considering the actions of their peers, expert advice and other relevant factors.”

10.50am: From the Associated Press:

A Russian official says troops have taken the Ukrainian port city of Kherson - a claim the Ukrainian military denies.

The city is under Russian soldiers' "complete control", Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov says.

He says the city’s civilian infrastructure, essential facilities and transport are operating as usual and that there are no shortages of food or essential goods.

Konashenkov says talks between the Russian commanders, city administrations and regional authorities on how to maintain order in the city are underway.

The claims could not be immediately verified.

A senior US defence official says they have seen claims that the Russians have taken Kherson, but that the Ukrainian military is rejecting that claim.

“Our view is that Kherson is very much a contested city at this point,” says the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to make military assessments.

10.45am: Some photos now from Irpin, where the Ukrainian military decided earlier this week to blow up the bridge between the city and Bucha to slow down Russian troops’ advance on Kyiv.

A US defence official tells the Associated Press the kilometres-long Russian convoy spotted on satellite imagery still appears to be stalled outside Kyiv’s city centre.

Civilians cross the shelled bridge in Irpin on March 3, 2022, in Irpin, Ukraine.
People cross a shelled bridge in Irpin, Ukraine.

10.30am: From the Associated Press:

The Pentagon says it is postponing a nuclear missile test launch scheduled for this week to avoid any possible misunderstanding in light of Putin’s recent decision to put his nuclear forces on higher alert.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby says the decision to delay the test of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was made by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

He says the US would like to see Moscow reciprocate by “taking the temperature down” in the crisis over Ukraine.

Kirby says the US did not put its nuclear forces on higher alert in response to Putin’s move, which the spokesman describes as dangerous and unnecessary.

The US usually performs about four test launches of Minuteman III missiles per year.

9.54am: Protests against the invasion continue across different parts of the world on Thursday.

In Russia, demonstrators continue to be detained for protesting. Despite the mass arrests, people are taking to the streets of Moscow, St Petersburg, and other Russian towns.

9.30am: An update on the powerful explosion reported earlier in central Kyiv.

Ukrainian officials say it happened between the Southern Railway station and the Ibis hotel. The area is near Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office tells The Associated Press it was a missile strike.

Officials say it's not immediately clear how damaging the strike was, whether there were any casualties, or where exactly the missile hit.

The Southern Railway station is one of two stations that make up the main passenger rail complex that thousands have used to flee the war over the past week.

The two stations are connected by an overhead corridor that crosses over about a dozen tracks.

9.01am: From the Associated Press:

A senior US defence official says the Russian convoy still appears to be stalled outside the city centre of Kyiv, and has made no real progress in the past couple days.

On Tuesday, satellite images revealed a 65 kilometre-long convoy of Russian armour is making its way to Ukraine's capital Kyiv.

The official says the convoy is still plagued with fuel and food shortages and logistical problems, as well as facing continued fierce resistance from Ukrainians.

He says there has been an increase in the number of missiles and artillery targeting the city, suggesting the Russians are trying to make a more aggressive move to try and take the city.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss military assessments, says Russians have not been able to achieve air superiority and Ukrainian air defences remain operable and their aircraft continue to fly.

The official says that about 82 per cent of the Russian troops that had been arrayed around Ukraine are now inside the country — just a slight uptick over the past 24 hours, and that Russia has launched more than 450 missiles at various targets in the country.

In other areas of the country, the official says the US is seeing preliminary indications that Russian forces are going to try to move south towards Mariupol from Donetsk, in what appears to be an effort to encircle the city.