Russia claims it has seized another Ukraine city as fighting continues

Source: 1News

Scroll down for a recap of 1News' coverage on the latest developments in Ukraine on the 14th day of the Russian invasion.

What you need to know

  • The US has confirmed a ban on Russian oil, gas and coal imports. The UK announced it would phase out oil and oil products from Russia by the end of 2022.
  • Ukraine is accusing Russia of violating a ceasefire and shelling a humanitarian corridor from Zaporizhzhia to the besieged Mariupol. Russia is, once again, offering to provide safe exits from at least five cities in Ukraine after previous attempts failed.
  • The UN human rights office says it has confirmed the deaths of 474 civilians in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24. The Geneva-based office says another 861 had been injured as of Tuesday, local time. The office only reports casualties it confirms, and believes real figures are considerably higher.
  • The UN estimates more than 2 million people, which includes 1 million children, have fled Ukraine since the fighting began.
  • The Government is allowing Ukrainian visa holders in New Zealand to stay for longer. Ukrainian nationals overseas who have valid visas can also come to the country immediately.

Recap of today's events

10.14pm: That concludes 1News' live updates for today. For more, join the Tonight team on TVNZ1 and OnDemand, and Breakfast from 6am for the latest developments.

10.10pm: From the Associated Press:

China says it is sending humanitarian aid including food and daily necessities worth 5 million yuan (NZ$1.15 million) to Ukraine while continuing to oppose sanctions against Russia over its invasion.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters an initial batch was sent to the Ukrainian Red Cross on Wednesday with more to follow “as soon as possible".

10.02pm: The Russia sanctions bill has passed its third reading in Parliament with unanimous support across the House.

The bill will allow New Zealand to join other countries around the world in applying a range of sanctions on Russia, including the freezing of assets.

9.38pm: In its latest update, Russia has claimed it has taken the city of Nizhyn, while Ukraine reported continued clashes.

"This is an important town, as Russian forces are trying to link up south of Chernihiv and east of Konotop," a geopolitical and security analyst said on Twitter.

9.30pm: Footage from a drone appears to show an anti-tank missile strike against a Russian tank by Ukrainian units.

8.45pm: The latest report from 1News Europe correspondent Daniel Faitaua.

8.25pm: From the BBC:

Russia’s defence ministry has claimed that it’s obtained secret documents that "prove" Kyiv was planning an attack on Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The Reuters news agency says the ministry has published six pages of documents that "prove" Kyiv was planning a military assault on the Russian-backed rebel regions in Donbas.

Reuters says it can not independently verify the documents - written in Ukrainian - which appear to outline combat preparations for tactical military units.

Last month, President Putin recognised two Russian-backed regions in east Ukraine, the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic, as independent states.

A short while later, he ordered troops into the two regions, before the war in Ukraine began.

8.10pm: From the Associated Press

The general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces says the country is building up its defence of key cities in the north, south and east as Russia’s advance has stalled.

In a statement early on Wednesday (local time), it said that forces around Kyiv are resisting the Russian offensive with unspecified strikes and “holding the line".

The Ukrainian general staff said that in the northern city of Chernihiv, Russian forces are placing military equipment among residential buildings and on farms.

And in the south, it said Russians dressed in civilian clothes are advancing on the city of Mykolaiv.

Meanwhile, the administration of the northeastern border city of Sumy says further civilian evacuations are planned on Wednesday.

8pm: Universal Music Group - the world's largest music company - has announced it will suspend all business in Russia and close its offices.

7.50pm: The UK's Ministry of Defence says Ukrainians are successfully holding Kyiv, with Russian forces unable to make any "significant breakthroughs".

Ukraine's air defences were also praised.

"Ukrainian air defences appear to have enjoyed considerable success against Russia's modern combat aircraft, probably preventing them achieving any degree of control in the air," the Ministry tweeted.

Meanwhile, the cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Mariupol remain encircled by Russian forces and continue to suffer heavy Russian shelling.

6.55pm: Russia announces another ceasefire for civilians to leave cities

The BBC are reporting Russia has announced another ceasefire to allow civilians in cities under attack to flee.

The corridors will again be set up for Kyiv, Chernihev, Sumy, Kharkiv and Maripol at 10am local time (8pm NZT).

6.10pm: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says it has lost contact with Chernobyl nuclear data systems.

On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine and seized the defunct plant, site of a 1986 disaster that killed hundreds and spread radioactive contamination west across Europe.

In a statement, the agency said more than 200 technical staff and guards remain trapped at the site, working nearly two weeks straight since the Russian takeover in order to prevent another nuclear disaster.

With data transmission cut off, the only way to contact the plant now is by email.

6pm: From the Associated Press:

Ukraine’s energy minister said Russian forces that now control a Ukrainian nuclear plant are forcing the exhausted staff to record an address that they plan to use for propaganda purposes.

Russian troops have been in control of the Zaporizhzhia plant, the largest in Europe, since seizing it an attack on Friday that set a building on fire and raised fears of a nuclear disaster. It was later determined that no radiation was released.

Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said on Facebook that about 500 Russian soldiers and 50 pieces of heavy equipment are inside the station. He said the Ukrainian staff are "physical and emotionally exhausted".

Russia describes the war as a "special military operation" and says it is conducting targeted attacks. Halushchenko's reference to propaganda appears to refer to Russian efforts to show it is not endangering Ukrainian civilians or infrastructure.

5.45pm: From the BBC:

Air raid sirens have gone off in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Lubny, Poltava, and Vasylkiv, according to several local Ukrainian media outlets.

The alarms signal potential danger from airstrikes and are a warning to residents to take shelter in bunkers if they're not there already.

5.20pm: Explosions heard in Kyiv

There are explosions in Kyiv as the clock ticks past 6am local time.

Reporters on the ground say an air raid siren has rung out around the city to alert people to seek shelter immediately.

5pm: Yum Brands, parent company of KFC, is suspending operations of all 70 KFC company-owned restaurants in the country and is finalising an agreement to suspend all Pizza Hut restaurant operations in Russia.

KFC.

Yum, which has at least 1000 KFC and 50 Pizza Hut locations in Russia that are nearly all independent franchisees, said in a post on its website dated Monday that it had “suspended all investment and restaurant development in Russia while we continue to assess additional options".

4.35pm: From the Guardian:

Foreigners travelling to Ukraine to fight against the Russian invasion will be given Ukrainian citizenship, according to comments on television by first deputy interior minister Yevhen Yenin, quoted by the news site Ukrinform.

Yenin told a phone-in: "If such persons from among foreign citizens are interested in obtaining Ukrainian citizenship, our legislation provides for such an opportunity."

Thousands of people are believed to have travelled to fight in Ukraine.

4.10pm: Around 5000 people and 1000 cars evacuated the city of Sumy in northeastern Ukraine on Tuesday local time (Wednesday NZT), according to deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office Kirill Timoshenko.

These numbers are yet to be verified.

Sumy has seen heavy attacks in recent days and is almost cut off from the rest of the country.

3.50pm: The US is sending two anti-missile batteries to Poland to provide defensive reinforcements and counter any potential threat to NATO during Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, spokesman for US European Command Captain Adam Miller said.

3.40pm: US Vice President Kamala Harris will begin her trip to Poland and Romania tomorrow.

She will meet with the leaders of both countries to coordinate on their response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and how the US can further support neighbouring nations.

The trip comes as the Pentagon dismissed Poland's proposal to transfer its MiG-29 fighter jets to the US for delivery to Ukraine, claiming it was too risky as the US and NATO seek to avoid an outright conflict with Russia.

3.15pm: Former Ukranian MP Hopko Hanna has broken down in tears during a heartbreaking interview with US TV service NBC.

Hanna repeated calls for a no-fly zone to be imposed over Ukraine. "This is about humanity," she told Katy Tur.

The no-fly zone has so far been refused as it may result in more countries becoming involved in the conflict.

2.38pm: US President Joe Biden says Russia "will never" take Ukraine

On Twitter, Biden said the Ukraine war "will never be a victory" for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Putin may be able to take a city - but he will never be able to hold the country," Biden said.

1.46pm: From the Associated Press:

Natalia Mudrenko, the highest-ranking woman at Ukraine’s UN Mission, is accusing Russia of effectively holding civilians “hostage” and says “the critical situation” in Mariupol and other cities demands immediate action by world leaders and humanitarian and medical organisations.

She tells a UN Security Council meeting that civilians, mostly women and children, “are not allowed to leave and the humanitarian aid is not let in".

“If they try to leave, Russians open fire and kill them,” Mudrenko says, her voice shaking with emotion.

“They are running out of food and water, and they die.”

The Russian military denies firing on convoys and charges that the Ukrainian side was blocking the evacuation effort.

Mudrenko says a 6-year-old girl died on Tuesday in the besieged city of Mariupol on the Azov Sea, “alone in the last moments of her life as her mother was killed by Russian shelling".

On Wednesday in the Mykolaiv region, she says “Russian occupiers fired at a van with a group of female teachers of the local orphanage (and) three of them were killed”.

There are also “cases of child sexual violence committed by occupiers", Mudrenko alleges.

1.30pm: the Latest from the UK's Ministry of Defence:

The Defence Ministry says Russian forces have reportedly disrupted humanitarian corridors again on Wednesday - the third successive day Russia has breached its own ceasefire agreements.

The ministry says shelling and small-arms fire continue.

While some civilians evacuated, those still besieged cities continued to suffer from food, water and power shortages which have been "exacerbated by heavy Russian shelling", the ministry says.

1.15pm: From the Associated Press:

The Pentagon says Poland’s offer to give its MiG-29 fighter jets to the US so they can be passed to Ukraine raises serious concerns for the NATO alliance and the plan is not “a tenable one".

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby says in a statement that the prospect of jets departing from a US/NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace contested with Russia in the Ukraine war is concerning.

He says it’s not clear to the US that there is a substantive rationale for it.

The US will continue to talk to Poland about the matter, Kirby says.

12.59pm: National says NZ Govt 'has done nothing' to expedite visas for Ukrainians

The National Party is criticising the Government for being too slow to help Ukrainians fleeing the fighting in their country come to Aotearoa.

National's immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says New Zealand-based Ukrainians haven't been able to rescue their family members because Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi hasn't created a dedicated visa pathway, as National has suggested.

"It’s been 14 days since Russian bombs started falling on Ukraine, yet the Government has done nothing to expedite visas for wider family members of Kiwi-based Ukrainians."

While there’s a note on the Immigration New Zealand website saying Ukrainians’ visa applications will be prioritised, there isn’t a dedicated place to apply.

“We now know the reason they can’t find application forms or information about how to apply - because it doesn’t exist," Stanford says.

She says National will continue to call on the Government to create a special humanitarian visa for immediate family members of Ukrainians who live in New Zealand.

“We called for this visa because we know there is no ability for wider family members to use the compassionate entry criteria of existing visas after Minister Faafoi last year changed the rules to exclude humanitarian crises occurring outside of New Zealand.

“Other countries have been able to fast-track family members fleeing the war, yet New Zealand is lagging behind."

On Tuesday, Faafoi announced additional support for Ukrainians in New Zealand that will allow them to stay in the country for longer. It also allows Ukrainians outside of the country with a valid visa to come to Aotearoa immediately. The full detail of that policy can be found here.

Stanford says the announcement "failed to help a large number of Ukrainians who need our support to bring their parents, brothers and sisters and other family members to New Zealand".

12.36pm: From the Associated Press:

Ukrainian authorities say that Russian warplanes have carried new strikes on residential areas in eastern and central parts of the country.

Ukrainian officials say two people, including a 7-year-old, were killed in the town of Chuhuiv just east of Kharkiv.

They say that in the city of Malyn, west of the capital Kyiv, at least five people, including two children, were killed in a Russian air strike.

The Russian artillery has pounded the outskirts of Kyiv, forcing civilians to hide in shelters while water, food and power supplies have been cut, says Yaroslav Moskalenko, an official who coordinates humanitarian efforts in the Kyiv region.

He says the shelling made it impossible to evacuate the bodies of five people who died when their vehicle was fired upon in Borodianka near Kyiv and the bodies of 12 patients of a psychiatric hospital there.

Another 200 patients are stuck there without food and medicines, Moskalenko adds.

12.02pm: CIA says Putin isn't crazy, but increasingly 'frustrated' over Ukraine setbacks

A US intelligence leader says Putin is growing increasingly "angry and frustrated", and that he's likely to intensify his attack on Ukraine.

CIA Director William Burns is among those testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. Burns is the former US ambassador to Moscow and has studied Putin and Russia for years.

"He's likely to double down and try to grind down the Ukrainian military with no regard for civilian casualties," Burns says.

"He has no sustainable political endgame in the face of what is going to continue to be fierce resistance from Ukrainians."

Damaged furniture after a shelling in pro-Russian separatists-controlled Donetsk, Ukraine on March 8.

Burns says Putin is likely to be "unsettled" by the west's reaction, but adds that the Russian President isn't "crazy".

"I think he's far more insulated from other points of view and people who would challenge or question his views.

"But, in my opinion, that doesn't make him crazy. But, it makes them extremely difficult to deal with because of the hardening of his views over time and a narrowing of his inner circle."

He says the invasion has played out largely as the US had predicted, in contrast to Putin's optimism that he'd be able to take Kyiv in the first two days of his campaign.

“He was confident that he had modernised his military and they were capable of quick, decisive victory at minimum cost. He's been proven wrong on every count," Burns says.

He adds: "I think Putin is determined to dominate and control Ukraine, to shape its orientation.

"You know, this is a matter of deep personal conviction for him. He's been stewing in a combustible combination of grievance and ambition for many years."

11.34am: Olena Zelenska, Ukraine's First Lady, thanks her country's neighbours for opening their borders to women and children.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska in 2020.

"Thank you for keeping them safe, when the aggressor has rendered us unable to do so," she says in an open letter.

"I thank the citizens of the attacked cities, who have coordinated to help those in need. Those that keep working - in pharmacies, stores, public transportation, and social services – showing that in Ukraine, life wins.

"I acknowledge those that have provided humanitarian aid to our citizens and thank you for your continued support."

She says Putin underestimated Ukraine, thinking incorrectly he would be able to "unleash blitzkrieg".

Zelenska condemns the Russian President's actions and the media outlets who support him.

"Despite assurances from Kremlin-backed propaganda outlets, who call this a "special operation", it is, in fact, the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians.

"Perhaps the most terrifying and devastating of this invasion are the child casualties. Eight-year-old Alice who died on the streets of Okhtyrka while her grandfather tried to protect her. Or Polina from Kyiv, who died in the shelling with her parents.

"Fourteen-year-old Arseniy was hit in the head by wreckage, and could not be saved because an ambulance could not get to him on time because of intense fires.

"When Russia says that it is 'not waging war against civilians', I call out the names of these murdered children first."

11.11am: Charity Save the Children says as 1 million child refugees escape the fighting in Ukraine, the risk of separation grows.

"Reports from the border suggest that some children are arriving unaccompanied after being sent by family members who were unable to leave Ukraine but wanted their children to be safe from ground attack and aerial explosions," the charity says.

"Others have been separated from their families in the chaos of fleeing their homes. Many of the solo arrivals are under 14 and showing signs of psychological distress."

Irina Saghoyan, Save the Children’s Eastern Europe director, says the charity is establishing family tracing and reunification procedures with other agencies to help reunite children with extended family and friends in Poland and neighbouring countries.

She says child protection systems and reporting mechanisms are also being set up to keep the children safe.

Save the Children NZ chief executive Heidi Coetzee says Kiwis have donated more than $300,000 to help Ukrainian children.

11.03am: Belarusian media outlet Nexta has posted a photo appearing to show Russians lining up outside McDonald's after the fast food chain announced earlier on Wednesday it was temporarily closing all restaurants in the country because of Ukraine's invasion.

11.00am: Any Russian aircraft that enters the UK's airspace can be detained by the Government, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps says.

"We will suffocate Putin's cronies’ ability to continue living as normal while thousands of innocent people die," he says.

10.52am: Pepsi is also suspending sales of its non-essential products in Russia, joining the likes of Starbucks, McDonald's and Coca-Cola.

The beverage and food company was under increasing pressure to pull its operations from Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine. But, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier PepsiCo was reluctant to shut down in Russia because it employed tens of thousands in the country and made essentials like milk and baby formula.

PepsiCo’s CEO Ramon Laguarta says in a statement they entered the Russian market "at the height of the Cold War and helped create common ground between the United States and the Soviet Union".

"However, given the horrific events occurring in Ukraine, we are announcing the suspension of the sale of Pepsi-Cola, and our global beverage brands in Russia, including 7 Up and Mirinda. We will also be suspending capital investments and all advertising and promotional activities in Russia," Laguarta says.

"As a food and beverage company, now more than ever we must stay true to the humanitarian aspect of our business. That means we have a responsibility to continue to offer our other products in Russia, including daily essentials such as milk and other dairy offerings, baby formula and baby food."

Laguarta says the company will also continue to support its 20,000 Russian associates and the 40,000 Russian agricultural workers in its supply chain.

The company is donating NZ$5.8 million to the Red Cross, World Vision, the World Food Program, World Central Kitchen and Save the Children, he adds.

10.38am: From the Associated Press:

Authorities evacuated thousands of people from the eastern city of Sumy, a senior Ukrainian official says.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says 5000 people, including 1700 foreign students, were evacuated from Sumy on Wednesday.

Vereshchuk reaffirms that Ukraine will not accept Moscow’s offer to establish safe corridors for civilians to head toward Russia, saying it will only agree to safe exits leading westward.

Vereshchuk says that the evacuation from the southern port of Mariupol failed earlier on Wednesday because the Russian troops fired on a Ukrainian convoy carrying humanitarian cargo to Mariupol that was to carry civilians from the city on its way back.

She says the city is in a “catastrophic situation” cut from water, power and communications, adding that a child in Mariupol has died of dehydration.

The Russian military denies firing on convoys and charges that the Ukrainian side is blocking the evacuation effort.

10.00am: From the Associated Press:

Poland says it will give all of its MiG-29 fighter jets to the US, apparently agreeing to an arrangement that would allow them to be used by Ukraine’s military. Ukraine has pleaded for more warplanes.

The decision comes as Washington looks at a proposal under which Poland would supply Ukraine with Soviet-era fighters and in turn receive American F-16s to make up for their loss.

Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly Soviet-era fighter jets.

The Polish Foreign Ministry says in a statement that Poland is ready to deliver the jets to the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

"At the same time, Poland requests the United States to provide us with used aircraft with corresponding operational capabilities."

9.55am: Coca-Cola and Starbucks are suspending all of their operations in Russia.

In a statement, Coca-Cola says it will continue to assess the situation.

"Our hearts are with the people who are enduring unconscionable effects from these tragic events in Ukraine."

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson says in a statement the beverage company decided to immediately pause business activity in Russia as it continues to watch "tragic events unfold".

He says the shipment of all Starbucks products will also be halted, and its licensed partner is pausing store operations.

Johnson says Starbucks will continue to support its almost 2000 Russian partners who depend on them for their livelihoods.

"Through this dynamic situation, we will continue to make decisions that are true to our mission and values and communicate with transparency."

9.47am: What does a US ban on Russian oil accomplish?

From the Associated Press:

Critics of Russia say sanctioning its energy exports would be the best - perhaps only - way to force Moscow to pull back from Ukraine.

A full embargo would be most effective if it includes European allies, which are also desperate to stop the violence in Ukraine and the danger Moscow poses to the continent.

Gas pump (file photo).

Yet, it's far from clear that all of Europe would take part in an embargo, though Britain announced that it would phase out Russian oil imports by the year's end.

Unlike the US, Europe is deeply reliant on energy it imports from Russia, the world’s second-largest crude oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia. While the US can replace the relatively small amount of fuel it receives from Moscow, Europe can't, at least not anytime soon.

Thus, the impact of the US oil ban on Russia would likely be minimal. The US imports a small share of Russia's oil exports and typically doesn't buy any of its natural gas.

Last year, roughly 8 per cent of US imports of oil and petroleum products came from Russia. Together, the imports totalled the equivalent of 245 million barrels in 2021, which was roughly 672,000 barrels of oil and petroleum products a day. But, imports of Russian oil have been declining rapidly as buyers shun the fuel.

Because the amount of oil the US imports from Russia is modest, Russia can potentially sell that oil elsewhere, perhaps in China or India. Still, it will probably have to sell it at a steep discount, because fewer and fewer buyers are accepting Russian oil.

If Russia were eventually shut off from the global market, rogue countries such as Iran and Venezuela might be "welcomed back" as sources of oil, says Claudio Galimberti, an analyst at Rystad Energy.

Such additional sources could, in turn, potentially stabilise prices.

9.28am: Amid the turmoil in Ukraine and the newly-announced ban on Russian gas imports in the US, Kiwis are also experiencing a massive rise in fuel prices at the pump.

The average price of 91 in Auckland and Wellington - the highest in the country - exceeds NZ$3 a litre and is still rising.

Canterbury has the lowest average gas price at NZ$2.87 per litre for 91, according to fuel finding app Gaspy.

Data from Gaspy shows the steep increase in gas prices in recent days.

9.07am: Russia offers humanitarian corridors again

From the Associated Press:

The Russian military is offering again to provide humanitarian corridors for civilians to leave five Ukrainian cities after several previous attempts to establish safe exits failed.

Ukrainian officials say Russian shelling again made it impossible for civilians to use the corridors on Wednesday despite a deal reached a day earlier.

The Russian military counters the claim, alleging that Ukraine only has allowed civilians to use one corridor from the city of Sumy and blocked other routes from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol.

Russian Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev says the Russian military has announced it will stop firing at 10am Wednesday Ukraine time (9pm Wednesday New Zealand time) to let civilians leave safely via the corridors.

He suggests setting up a hotline between Russia and Ukraine to coordinate the evacuation.

8.51am: Under fire Russian gymnast says he'd show war symbol again

The Russian gymnast who was criticised for displaying a pro-war symbol at a World Cup event while sharing the podium with a Ukrainian rival says he has no regrets and would do it again if given the opportunity.

Speaking to Russian state-controlled media outlet RT, Ivan Kuliak says: "I would do exactly the same."

"I saw it on our military and looked at what this symbol means... I didn't wish anything bad on anyone. I just showed my position. As an athlete, I will always fight for victory and play for peace."

Kuliak, who had trained with the Russian military, was slammed on social media for taping a makeshift "Z" to his singlet for the medal ceremony after winning bronze in the parallel bars final at the Apparatus World Cup event in Doha on Monday.

The "Z" is a common symbol painted on tanks and other war machines currently being used in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is also worn by civilians and officials who support Putin's decision to invade Ukraine.

The International Gymnastics Federation is investigating the incident. Kuliak may face a lengthy ban from the sport or be stripped of his medal.

Read the full story here.

8.29am: Zelensky thanks the US and President Joe Biden for banning all Russian oil imports. Read more details about the ban here.

The Ukrainian President tweets that the ban will strike "in the heart of Putin’s war machine".

Biden says the economic sanctions the US has imposed on Moscow has "caused the Russian economy to crater".

8.18am: Kiwi couple celebrates after Ukrainian family reaches safety

Let's return now to the story of Kiwi Alex Wills and his Ukraine-born fiancée Marria Torbina, who Breakfast first met on Tuesday.

The couple is anxiously trying to get Torbina’s 64-year-old mother to New Zealand after the Government promised last week it would fast-track visa applications from Ukrainians to come to Aotearoa. Wills said on Tuesday the reality was far more convoluted.

Wills says he worried about what would happen to his mother-in-law after her 30-hour train ride to the border of Slovakia and Hungary from Ukraine.

Without a clear path to come to New Zealand, "in a best-case scenario, she will be standing in the corner of a gym in Slovakia with goodness knows what facilities at 64 years old", he says.

On Wednesday, thanks to a kind-hearted Breakfast viewer, Torbina says: “I’m very happy to announce that my mum made it to Slovakia."

"We got lots of love, lots of support and we were contacted by a lovely New Zealand lady who has family in Slovakia... she contacted her sister who is now in touch with us to help our mamma to stay in Slovakia until we wait for [a] decision about [a] visa to New Zealand."

Read their full story here.

Since the pair spoke to Breakfast on Tuesday, the Government has made changes to visas for Ukrainians to make it easier for them to stay for longer in New Zealand, or come immediately.

8.01am: The Associated Press reports the Russian military says 723 people were evacuated from Sumy to Poltava. It identified them as mostly citizens of India, with the rest from China, Jordan and Tunisia. It made no mention of any Ukrainians among those evacuated.

7.43am: Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi was on Breakfast earlier this morning to discuss the changes he announced on Tuesday that will make it easier for Ukrainians in New Zealand to stay for longer, and for visa holders overseas to come faster.

"[Nearly] Two weeks into this invasion. How long will it go? Do we offer the likes of temporary visas or is it more permanent?" Faafoi told Breakfast.

"We want to make sure that we carefully work through those issues, mindful of the urgency and concern that people in NZ have for their families in Ukraine, and obviously the situation in Ukraine is getting exponentially worse."

The full detail of Faafoi's announcement can be found here.

7.38am: 1News Europe correspondent Daniel Faitaua is in Poland, near its border with Ukraine.

He says the border crossing is packed with mostly women and children. He says bus after bus is filling up with refugees seeking shelter or heading to the train station.

7.20am: McDonald's temporarily closes all restaurants in Russia

McDonald's will temporarily close all of its restaurants and pause all of its commercial operations in Russia.

In a statement from CEO Chris Kempczinski, he says he has spoken to many in the company in recent days.

"For 66 years, we have operated with the belief that communities are made better when there’s a McDonald’s nearby," he says.

"In Russia, we employ 62,000 people who have poured their heart and soul into our McDonald’s brand to serve their communities. We work with hundreds of local, Russian suppliers and partners who produce the food for our menu and support our brand. And we serve millions of Russian customers each day who count on McDonald’s.

"In the thirty-plus years that McDonald’s has operated in Russia, we’ve become an essential part of the 850 communities in which we operate.

"At the same time, our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine."

McDonald's.

Kempczinski says all McDonald’s employees in Russia will continue to receive a salary, and the Ronald McDonald House Charity will continue its full operations.

"RMHC Ukraine is partnering with local hospitals and providing humanitarian aid throughout the country."

He says McDonald’s will continue to assess the situation in Russia and Ukraine before deciding if additional measures are needed.

"At this juncture, it’s impossible to predict when we might be able to reopen our restaurants in Russia. We are experiencing disruptions to our supply chain along with other operational impacts."

7.15am: Prices for Brent Crude are at US$126.9 a barrel, up 3 per cent, as the US announces a ban on Russian oil imports.

7.12am: Overnight New Zealand time, Ukraine has accused Russia of breaking a ceasefire and shelling a humanitarian corridor from Zaporizhzhia to the besieged Mariupol.

That's according to Oleg Nikolenko, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

From the Associated Press:

Buses emblazoned with red cross symbols carried water, medicine and food toward Mariupol, a scene of some of the worst desperation. The plan was for them to then ferry civilians out of the city of 430,000 people, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says.

But soon after officials announced that buses were on their way, Ukrainian officials say they had learned of shelling on the escape route.

It is unclear whether the supply convoy made it to Mariupol or whether any civilians managed to get out.

The city's deputy mayor tells the BBC that Russian forces continued to pound areas where people were trying to gather ahead of being evacuated.

Russia said, before Tuesday's talks with Ukraine, civilians would be allowed safe passage out of several cities, including Sumy, Mariupol, Chernihiv, Kyiv and Kharkiv. It also isn't clear if evacuations had happened from any of the other cities aside from Sumy.

Ukrainian officials say a safe corridor did open early Tuesday (local time) from Irpin, a city near Kyiv that has been without electricity, water and heat for days. But it's not clear how long it remained open or how many people used it.

Many of Moscow's proposed evacuation corridors lead to Russia, either directly or through Russia's ally Belarus.

The Russian military says it proposed two safe corridor options from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol, including one that would lead to Russia and the other to the West.

But it says the Ukrainian government accepted only one of the 10 routes - from Sumy to Poltava.

Ukrainian officials are blasting the corridors to Russia as unacceptable, but there is no confirmation that they rejected other corridors, as the Russian military claims.

7.00am: From the Associated Press:

Britain is joining the United States in announcing a ban on imports of Russian oil.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng says oil and oil products from Russia will be phased out by the end of the year.

He says the transition period “will give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports”, which account for 8 per cent of UK demand.

Kwarteng says the UK would work with its other oil suppliers, including the US, the Netherlands and the Gulf states, to secure extra supplies.

6.55am: Biden bans Russian oil

A bit more now on earlier developments overnight New Zealand time.

From the Associated Press:

US President Biden announces the US is “targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy” by banning imports of Russian oil, the latest sanction intended to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

“We will not be part of subsidising Putin’s war,” he says in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

Biden’s announcement comes amid rising pressure from Democrats and Republicans, and it reflects a willingness to accept the political risk of rising gas prices to economically retaliate against Russia.

“Defending freedom is going to cost,” Biden says. “It’s going to cost us as well in the United States.”

Although Biden had tried to work in concert with European allies, he acknowledges many are not announcing a similar ban because they’re more reliant on Moscow for oil and gas.

“So we can take this step when others can not,” he says.

“But we’re working closely with Europe and our partners to develop a long term strategy to reduce their dependence on Russian energy as well.”

Read the full story here.

6.43am: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson praises Zelensky for standing firm for democracy and freedom.

"At this moment, ordinary Ukrainians are defending their homes and their families against a brutal assault. Their actions are inspiring millions by their courage and their devotion," Johnson says after Zelensky's address to the House of Commons.

He says the UK will continue to tighten the "economic vice" around Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Britain and our allies are determined to press on - to press on with supplying our Ukrainians friends with the weapons they need to defend their homeland, as they deserve."

Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer says the House is moved by "the bravery, the resolve and the leadership" of Zelensky.

"Invading troops march through his streets, shells rain down on his people, and assassins seek his life.

"No one would have blamed him for fleeing. Instead, he has stayed in Kyiv to lead the Ukrainian people and to fight."

6.30am: Zelensky addresses UK Parliament

Mōrena and welcome to live coverage from 1News as the fighting in Ukraine enters its 14th day.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has just addressed UK’s House of Commons virtually. He becomes the first foreign leader to address the House of Commons.

The Commons chamber and the public gallery are packed. Zelensky was greeted with a standing ovation.

Zelensky says more than 50 children had already died in the war.

“These are the children that could have lived, but these people have taken them away from us... I will never forgive this. And I know that you will never forgive the occupiers.”

Ukraine’s fight against Russia is like Britain’s against Nazi Germany in World War II, he tells MPs.

He says he’s proud his country continued fighting even after calls from Moscow they lay down their arms.

"We will not give up and we will not lose. We will continue fighting for our land, whatever the cost."

Zelensky adds: “The war must be stopped. We need to sit down at the negotiating table, but for honest, substantive talks.”

Zelensky repeats his previous calls for a no-fly zone over his country - something the US and its NATO allies have refused to do because it could bring them into direct conflict with Russia.

British MPs are about to speak in response.