Ukraine invasion: Thousands flee Sumy as Mariupol in ‘catastrophic situation’

Poland to give MiG-29 fighter jets to US as Zelenskiy addresses House of Commons

Ukrainian deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said 5,000 people, including 1,700 foreign students, were evacuated from Sumy.

Ms Vereshchuk reaffirmed that Ukraine will not accept Moscow’s offer to establish safe corridors for civilians to head towards Russia, saying it will only agree to safe exits leading westwards.

Ms Vereshchuk said the evacuation from the southern port of Mariupol failed on Tuesday 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 said the city was in a “catastrophic situation” cut from water, power and communications, adding that a child in Mariupol has died of dehydration.


The Russian military has denied firing on convoys and charged that the Ukrainian side was blocking the evacuation effort.

Earlier this evening, Poland said it would give all of its MiG-29 fighter jets to the United States, apparently agreeing to an arrangement that would allow them to be used by Ukraine’s military.

Ukraine has pleaded for more warplanes.

The decision came as Washington was looking 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.

Meanwhile, US president Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a US ban on Russian oil and other energy imports, ramping up a pressure campaign on Moscow in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Biden called the move a “powerful blow” to “Putin’s war” and warned Americans that “defending freedom is going to cost”.

The president said sanctions imposed by the US and its allies had already caused the Russian economy to “crater”. He said the latest moves had been made in close consultation with allies and partners around the world.

The United Kingdom has also announced it will phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of the year as part of its sanctions on Moscow for invading Ukraine, the business secretary has announced.

Appeal to Britain

In a speech to the House of Commons this afternoon, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy appealed to Britain to do more to help his country fight Russia and to punish “the terrorist state”, striking a defiant tone that Ukraine would fight for its survival, no matter what the cost.

Addressing Britain’s parliament and greeted by a standing ovation in a packed chamber of lawmakers, Mr Zelenskiy documented the Russian invasion day by day, listing the weapons used, the civilians killed and those running out of food and water.

He thanked British prime minister Boris Johnson for the help already offered, but said Britain and other Western countries had to go further, pressing on with more sanctions. He asked them to recognise Russia as a “terrorist state”.

“The question for us now is to be or not to be,” Mr Zelenskiy told parliament via videolink. “We will not give up and we will not lose. We will fight to the end at the sea, in the air, we will continue fighting for our land, whatever the cost. We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets.”

On Tuesday Coca-Cola and Pepsi said they were suspending sales of their sodas in Russia, becoming the latest high-profile Western consumer brands to curtail operations in the region.

McDonald’s also said it is temporarily closing all of its 850 restaurants in Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The burger giant said it will continue paying its 62,000 employees in Russia, but in an open letter to employees, McDonald’s president and chief executive Chris Kempckinski said closing the stores is the right thing to do because McDonald’s can’t ignore the “needless human suffering in Ukraine”.

Furthermore, 61 hospitals in Ukraine are not operational because of attacks by Russian forces, Ukraine’s health minister Viktor Lyashko said on Tuesday.

“Terrorists from the aggressor country have put 61 hospitals out of action,” he said on television, adding that the authorities were unable to deliver critical medical supplies to frontline communities because of a lack of “humanitarian corridors”.

Russia denies attacking civilian targets. – AP/Reuters