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Russia kills 13 people in attack on Ukraine bread factory as peace talks make little progress

  • Accepting annexation of Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions key Russian demands
  • Russia ‘bombing the life out of everything that is moving’, says Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky
  • Escape corridors mined and civilians cut down as they tried to escape
  • ‘Safe’ escape routes for Ukrainians that only lead to Russia branded ‘immoral’
  • Sanctions mount but Germany reluctant to stop buying Russian oil and gas
  • 1.7million refugees have fled
  • Truck driven through gates of Russian embassy in Dublin in protest as driver holds up picture of woman and children killed fleeing city of Irpin
  • Ireland has already accepted nearly 2,000 refugees and opens portal for offers of accommodation from public and businesses

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A man carries his dog as he flees fighting in Irpin via a destroyed bridge after Russian forces entered the city. Picture: Getty

A man carries his dog as he flees fighting in Irpin via a destroyed bridge after Russian forces entered the city. Picture: Getty

A woman holding a child cries after fleeing from the Ukraine and arriving at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland. Picture: AP

A woman holding a child cries after fleeing from the Ukraine and arriving at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland. Picture: AP

A woman with a child arrives at the border crossing after fleeing from the Ukraine in Medyka, Poland, Monday, March 7, 2022. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians attempting to flee to safety Sunday were forced to shelter from Russian shelling that pummeled cities in Ukraine’s center, north and south. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

A woman with a child arrives at the border crossing after fleeing from the Ukraine in Medyka, Poland, Monday, March 7, 2022. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians attempting to flee to safety Sunday were forced to shelter from Russian shelling that pummeled cities in Ukraine’s center, north and south. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Ukrainian servicemen try to save a family caught up in shelling in the town of Irpin, Ukraine, yesterday. Photo: AP Photo/ Andriy Dubchak

Ukrainian servicemen try to save a family caught up in shelling in the town of Irpin, Ukraine, yesterday. Photo: AP Photo/ Andriy Dubchak

A semi-conscious woman is attended to by Ukrainian soldiers after crossing the Irpin river as fleeing the city in the outskirts of Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

A semi-conscious woman is attended to by Ukrainian soldiers after crossing the Irpin river as fleeing the city in the outskirts of Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

A refugee who fled the Russian invasion from neighbouring Ukraine plays with a baby inside a ballroom converted into a makeshift refugee shelter at a 4-star hotel & spa, in Suceava, Romania, Friday, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

A refugee who fled the Russian invasion from neighbouring Ukraine plays with a baby inside a ballroom converted into a makeshift refugee shelter at a 4-star hotel & spa, in Suceava, Romania, Friday, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Volunteers sort piles of donated clothes under a shiny disco ball inside a ballroom converted into a makeshift refugee shelter at a 4-star hotel & spa, in Suceava, Romania, Friday, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Volunteers sort piles of donated clothes under a shiny disco ball inside a ballroom converted into a makeshift refugee shelter at a 4-star hotel & spa, in Suceava, Romania, Friday, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Refugees, mostly women and children, wait in a crowd for transportation after fleeing from the Ukraine and arriving at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Monday, March 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Refugees, mostly women and children, wait in a crowd for transportation after fleeing from the Ukraine and arriving at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Monday, March 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Nellya Nahorna, 85 years-old, who fled the Russian invasion from Zaporizhzhia with her daughter Olena Yefanova, poses for a portrait inside a ballroom converted into a makeshift refugee shelter at a 4-star hotel & spa, in Suceava, Romania, Friday, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Nellya Nahorna, 85 years-old, who fled the Russian invasion from Zaporizhzhia with her daughter Olena Yefanova, poses for a portrait inside a ballroom converted into a makeshift refugee shelter at a 4-star hotel & spa, in Suceava, Romania, Friday, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Refugees wait in a crowd for transportation after fleeing from the Ukraine and arriving at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Monday, March 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Refugees wait in a crowd for transportation after fleeing from the Ukraine and arriving at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Monday, March 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Kevin Royale, co-project coordinator for firefighter Aid Ukraine shows Alberta Premier Jason Kenney clothing to be shipped during a tour of a warehouse with supplies destined for relief efforts in Ukraine, in Edmonton, Alberta, Sunday, March 6, 2022. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Kevin Royale, co-project coordinator for firefighter Aid Ukraine shows Alberta Premier Jason Kenney clothing to be shipped during a tour of a warehouse with supplies destined for relief efforts in Ukraine, in Edmonton, Alberta, Sunday, March 6, 2022. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

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A man carries his dog as he flees fighting in Irpin via a destroyed bridge after Russian forces entered the city. Picture: Getty

Ukrainian officials said a Russian air strike hit a bread factory in northern Ukraine on Monday, killing at least 13 civilians, while talks between Kyiv and Moscow made little progress towards easing the conflict.

The strike on the factory in Makariv, just west of the capital Kyiv, took place as the number of refugees fleeing across borders from the Russian assault on Ukraine passed 1.7 million, according to United Nations figures.

Russian forces pressed on with their sieges and bombing of Ukrainian cities on the 11th day of the war. In the encircled southern port city of Mariupol, hundreds of thousands of people remained trapped without food and water under regular bombardments.

"They're bombing the life out of everything that is moving," Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

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A woman holding a child cries after fleeing from the Ukraine and arriving at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland. Picture: AP

A woman holding a child cries after fleeing from the Ukraine and arriving at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland. Picture: AP

A woman holding a child cries after fleeing from the Ukraine and arriving at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland. Picture: AP

Five people were rescued of the 30 believed to have been in the bread factory at the time. Russia denies targeting civilians.

Zelensky, speaking on a Zoom call with a Jewish group in the United States, said: "The bakery was eliminated. And this is happening in different cities."

In the eastern city of Kharkiv, police said a further 10 people had been killed over the past day, taking the total death toll there from Russian bombardment to 143 since the start of the invasion. It was not possible to verify the toll.

Talks

After the third attempt to ease the bloodshed at talks in Belarus, a Ukrainian negotiator said that although small progress on agreeing logistics for the evacuation of civilians had been made, things remained largely unchanged.

"As of now, there are no results that significantly improve the situation," Mykhailo Podolyak said in a video statement, while Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky, told journalists the talks were "not easy".

"We hope that from tomorrow these corridors will finally work," he said.

A fourth round of talks will take place very soon, Russian negotiator Leonid Slutsky told Russian state television.

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Russia had offered Ukrainians escape routes to Russia and Belarus, its close ally, early on Monday after weekend evacuation ceasefire attempts failed. A spokesperson for Zelensky said the Russian proposal was "completely immoral".

The day before, journalists had witnessed people trying to flee the town of Irpin near Kyiv getting caught in Russian shelling with pictures of a family cut down by Russian fire among those generating outrage around the world.

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Ukrainian servicemen try to save a family caught up in shelling in the town of Irpin, Ukraine, yesterday. Photo: AP Photo/ Andriy Dubchak

Ukrainian servicemen try to save a family caught up in shelling in the town of Irpin, Ukraine, yesterday. Photo: AP Photo/ Andriy Dubchak

Ukrainian servicemen try to save a family caught up in shelling in the town of Irpin, Ukraine, yesterday. Photo: AP Photo/ Andriy Dubchak

On Monday people picked their way over the twisted ruins of a large bridge in Irpin, with river water rushing just beneath them.

"It's like a disaster. The city is almost ruined and the district where I'm living (there are) no houses which were not bombed," a young woman leaving with her children told Reuters.

Russia calls the campaign it launched on February 24 a "special military operation" to disarm Ukraine and remove leaders it describes as neo-Nazis. Ukraine and its Western allies call this a transparent pretext for an invasion to conquer a nation of 44 million people.

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A semi-conscious woman is attended to by Ukrainian soldiers after crossing the Irpin river as fleeing the city in the outskirts of Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

A semi-conscious woman is attended to by Ukrainian soldiers after crossing the Irpin river as fleeing the city in the outskirts of Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

A semi-conscious woman is attended to by Ukrainian soldiers after crossing the Irpin river as fleeing the city in the outskirts of Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow would halt operations if Ukraine ceased fighting, amended its constitution to declare neutrality, and recognised Russia's annexation of Crimea and the independence of regions held by Russian-backed separatists.

Sanctions

Western nations have placed heavy sanctions on Moscow to isolate it from global commerce and are now considering banning Russian oil imports. Oil prices spiked to their highest levels since 2008 amid the prospect of less supply from Russia, the world's biggest exporter of oil and gas.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he opposes cutting off energy supplies from Russia, calling imports of oil and gas of "essential importance" to the European economy.

While the European Union needs to find alternatives, "this won't happen overnight," Scholz said Monday in a statement. "It's therefore a conscious decision on our part to continue the activities of business enterprises in the area of energy supply with Russia."

The comments represent an open acknowledgment of Germany's dependence on Russia to heat its homes and fuel its factories, and the stance puts the brakes on European efforts to impose sanctions on the country's oil and gas sector.

International businesses and sports bodies have suspended ties, and wider economic disruption is likely as Russia and Ukraine are both among the world's main exporters of food and industrial metals.

Prices of nickel, which is used to make stainless steel and batteries for electric vehicles, surged about 60pc on Monday and have now nearly doubled since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Russian forces massing

The general staff of Ukraine's armed forces said Russian forces were "beginning to accumulate resources for the storming of Kyiv", a city of more than 3 million, after days of slow progress in their main advance south from Belarus.

In Mariupol, deputy mayor Sergei Orlov said there had been continuous air raids overnight.

Orlov told CNN authorities were ready to evacuate 6,000 people on Saturday but the Russians had bombed 29 big municipal buses that were to transport them. Moscow has accused the Ukrainians of blocking the planned evacuations.

The U.S. ambassador to the OSCE, Michael Carpenter, told a meeting of its 57 participating states that Russia had bombed agreed evacuation routes out of Volnovakha and Mariupol just as civilians were fleeing.

"It is pure evil," he said.

Ukraine said on Monday its forces had retaken control of the town of Chuhuiv in the northeast after heavy fighting and of the strategic Mykolayiv airport in the south, which the regional governor said was under tank fire. Neither claim could immediately be verified.

In a humanitarian update the United Nations described one psychiatric hospital 60 km (40 miles)from Kyiv running out of water and medicine with 670 people trapped inside, including bedridden patients with severe needs.

The World Health Organization said at least six people had been confirmed killed in nine attacks on health care facilitaties since the start of the war.

Ed Arnold, an analyst with Britain's Royal United Services Institute, said Russia would need to try to consolidate the gains it has already made and pause to mobilise more forces unless the pace of its assault picked up.

Moscow has acknowledged nearly 500 deaths among its soldiers, but Western countries say the true number is much higher and Ukraine says it is many thousands.

Death tolls cannot be verified, but footage filmed across Ukraine shows burnt-out wreckage of Russian tanks and armour, and parts of Ukrainian cities reduced to rubble by Russian strikes.

‘Repugnant’

British prime minister Boris Johnson branded Vladimir Putin's tactics in Ukraine "repugnant" and said additional sanctions would follow.

He told a Downing Street press conference: "The president of Russia is plainly doubling down.

"He has decided that he is going to continue with an all-out onslaught on centres of habitation in a way that we think is utterly repugnant.

"It's clear that we're going to have to do more."

Ireland

On Monday afternoon a truck was driven through the gates of the Russian embassy in Dublin in an apparent protest at the war.

It came as Ireland has been named on a Russian government list of “unfriendly countries and territories” in the wake of EU sanctions, meaning foreign creditors from countries on the list can now be paid in roubles for any debts owed to them by Russian citizens, companies, regions or the state itself.

Around 1,800 Ukrainian refugees have already arrived in Ireland since the outbreak of war, the Government has confirmed.

It comes as the Irish Red Cross, working with the Irish Government, launched an online system allowing people to register offers of accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said on Monday morning that around 1,800 people from Ukraine have arrived in Ireland since Russian invaded.

He said that Europe was looking at a "major humanitarian crisis".

He said that 486 refugees arrived on Sunday and while around two-thirds of people have family connections in Ireland, that proportion is falling as the crisis escalates.

"More and more who don't have connections with families in Ireland are arriving and it is fair to say we can expect that to increase significantly over the coming weeks," Mr Martin told Newstalk.

"This is a major humanitarian crisis on the continent of Europe and the response to that will have to be outside of the norm.

"This is an exceptional humanitarian crisis brought about by war and it is a wartime situation, and therefore our responses have to be different to a non-wartime situation," Mr Martin predicted.

‘Show them these pictures’ – Olena Zelensky’s emotional plea

The wife of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has made an emotional plea to international media to report the “terrible truth” of Russian forces killing children in their attack on Ukraine.

In five posts on Instagram, written in Ukrainian, French, German, English and Russian, Olena Zelensky shared pictures of some of the young children who had been killed so far in the war.

She claimed that at least 38 children have already died as a result of the invasion, adding: “This figure might be increasing this very moment due to the shelling of our peaceful cities.”

Ms Zelensky pleaded with the international community to recognise Russia’s crimes, saying: “When people in Russia say that their troops are not hurting the civilian population, show them these pictures!”

She appealed directly to “all the unbiased media in the world” to “tell this terrible truth”.

She added: “Tell it to Russian mothers - let them know what exactly their sons are doing here, in Ukraine. Show these photos to Russian women - your husbands, brothers, compatriots are killing Ukrainian children!”.

‘Bomb the s**t out of Russia – Trump

Meanwhile, former US president Donald Trump told GOP's top donors that the United States should label its F-22 planes with the Chinese flag and "bomb the s**t out of Russia.”

"And then we say, China did it, we didn't do it, China did it, and then they start fighting with each other and we sit back and watch," he said of labeling U.S. military planes with Chinese flags and bombing Russia, which was met with laughter from the crowd of donors, according to a recording of the speech obtained by The Washington Post.

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Kevin Royale, co-project coordinator for firefighter Aid Ukraine shows Alberta Premier Jason Kenney clothing to be shipped during a tour of a warehouse with supplies destined for relief efforts in Ukraine, in Edmonton, Alberta, Sunday, March 6, 2022. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Kevin Royale, co-project coordinator for firefighter Aid Ukraine shows Alberta Premier Jason Kenney clothing to be shipped during a tour of a warehouse with supplies destined for relief efforts in Ukraine, in Edmonton, Alberta, Sunday, March 6, 2022. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Kevin Royale, co-project coordinator for firefighter Aid Ukraine shows Alberta Premier Jason Kenney clothing to be shipped during a tour of a warehouse with supplies destined for relief efforts in Ukraine, in Edmonton, Alberta, Sunday, March 6, 2022. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

China’s relationship with Russia ‘rock solid’

China's Red Cross will provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine "as soon as possible", Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday, as he praised his country's friendship with Russia as "rock solid".

China has refused to condemn Russia's attack on Ukraine or call it an invasion while asking Western countries to respect Russia's "legitimate security concerns.".

Wang said the causes of the "Ukraine situation" were "complex" and had not happened overnight.

"Solving complex problems requires calmness and rationality, rather than adding fuel to the fire and intensifying contradictions," he told a news conference on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China's parliament.

China is willing to continue to make its own efforts to resolve the humanitarian crisis and the country's Red Cross will "as soon as possible" provide a batch of aid to Ukraine, Wang said, without giving details.

Russia won’t stop at Ukraine, Lithuania warns

Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda on Monday warned Washington’s top diplomat Antony Blinken that a failure to stop Russia’s aggression in Ukraine would lead to a global conflict.

Addressing the U.S. secretary of state as he began a tour of Baltic states, Nauseda said Russian leader Vladimir Putin “will not stop in Ukraine” and that the world had an obligation to help Ukrainians “by all means available.”

“I mean indeed all means if we want to avoid the Third World War. The choice is in our hands,” he said.

NATO member Lithuania has sent military aid to Ukraine and welcomed small numbers of Ukrainian refugees since Russia's invasion began on Feb. 24. 

Blinken was set to visit neighboring Latvia and Estonia on Monday and Tuesday.

Belarus, which borders Lithuania and Latvia, allowed Russia to launch the assault from its territory after it had its troops stationed there for weeks under the guise of joint military exercises.

Blinken met Nauseda before talks with Lithuania's foreign minister and prime minister.

The top U.S. diplomat earlier told staff of the U.S. embassy in Vilnius that Russia's invasion of Ukraine challenged basic principles designed to keep the peace between nations.

"It's important that people understand what's actually at stake and it goes beyond even Ukraine, beyond even the Baltic countries, beyond even Europe," Blinken said.


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