Ukraine evacuates civilians in besieged cities as 2 Million flee Russian attack

As Washington and Europe punish the Kremlin, the United States decided to ban Russian oil imports. Kyiv was supported by military aid which has helped strengthen its defensive position.

Ukraine evacuates civilians in besieged cities as 2 Million flee Russian attack

Ukraine claimed that Russia targeted civilians, as it began to evacuate residents from Sumy, the besieged city in Sumy, Tuesday. This was the first safe corridor since Moscow invaded their democratic neighbor two weeks ago. It has triggered the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

Moscow was hit hard by the Biden administration's ban on Russian oil imports, while Washington and Europe continued to impose crippling sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

President Joe Biden stated Tuesday that the White House would ban all Russian oil, gas and energy imports. "Russian oil will not be accepted at U.S. ports, and the American people are going to deal another devastating blow to Putin's war machine."

Volodymyr Zelenskyy , the Ukrainian President, responded by praising America for "a step that significantly weakens the occupiers. Will make them pay for their aggression, and answer for the wrong that they have done."

According to a Telegram translation by NBC News, he said that he was "personally thankful to the United States President, Biden,"

Although the Russian ground attack was repelled by the Ukrainian resistance, Moscow increased its air attacks to fuel a refugee exodus that now exceeds 2 million. More than half of them are seeking asylum in Poland.

Latest developments on Ukraine:

  • The U.S. has moved to prohibit imports from Russian oil. However, the U.K. stated that it will gradually phase out Russian oil and products this year.

  • Moscow threatens to halt the flow of natural gas through pipelines connecting Russia and Europe.

  • Poland and Ukraine reached a deal to give Kyiv their Russian-made MiG-29 fighter aircrafts.

  • Russia and Ukraine have agreed to establish a humanitarian corridor in Sumy, a northeastern city. There were strikes that overnight destroyed residential buildings, killing civilians.

  • According to the U.N. refugee agency, two million people fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries.

  • Coca-Cola declared that it was closing its Russian business, while Pepsico stated it was stopping beverage sales.

Inna Sovsun, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, accused Putin of deliberately terrorizing civilians both from the air and on the ground.

Sovsun stated on MSNBC that "it seems that Putin’s plans for blitzkrieg failed" and that Russian soldiers have turned to cruelty because of their failures. We have received information from Russian soldiers held prisoner by the Ukrainian army that they have stated directly that Russian officers tell their soldiers to fire at civilians.

During Tuesday's appearance before the House Intelligence Committee, William Burns, Director of the CIA, echoed Sovsun’s dire assessment.

Burns stated that Putin was angry and frustrated right at the moment. "He will likely double down and try the Ukrainian military to downsize it without regard to civilian casualties."

However, as his country entered its 13th war day, Zelenskyy invoked Winston Churchill’s famous rallying cry against Nazis in a determined speech he gave from his Kyiv office via videolink to the British Parliament.

Zelenskyy declared in Ukrainian, "We will never surrender", to thunderous applause. We will not give up. We will fight until the end. We will fight in the air, on the seas and defend our country at all costs. We will fight on the streets, in the mountains, in the fields, on beaches, in cities, in villages, in forests and in the fields.

Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, told Congress that between 2,000 and 4,000 Russian soldiers were killed in the conflict so far.

The beleaguered, outgunned Ukrainian Air Force received a huge shot in the arm Tuesday as Poland announced it would give all its Russian-made MiG-29 fighter aircraft to the Zelenskyy government.

The Poles agreed that the U.S. would provide them with "used aircraft with the same operational capabilities."

It wasn't immediately clear how many MiG-29s Poland would deliver to the U.S. military base at Ramstein, Germany. However, Poland has encouraged other countries of the former Soviet bloc to do so.

Russia & Ukraine reached an cease-fire in Sumy, northeastern Ukraine, early Tuesday to allow civilians to flee after yet another night of heavy shelling from Russian forces. People trapped in areas of the country that are hard hit by the conflict have been left without heat, electricity or food due to failed attempts to evacuate them.

Mykhailo podolyak, Zelenskyy adviser, said on Tweet: "Let's attempt again." The cease-fire appeared to have held as of Tuesday afternoon local.

The Ukrainian state communication agency posted video showing Sumy residents carrying bags while they waited in the snow to board buses. Those waiting on the bus to leave for the Ukrainian city Poltava wore masks as they sat surrounded with bags.

Sumy was evacuated by around 20 foreign students after it suffered an overnight bombardment from Russians. The strikes targeted residential buildings, killing over a dozen people and injuring two children.

NBC News has not verified that the number of victims was accurate. Russia has repeatedly denied that it targeted civilians.

It wasn't clear how long or if the evacuation would continue to other cities.

Moscow offered to let civilians travel on certain routes that lead to Russia or close ally Belarus, an offer Ukraine turned down.

According to the Interior Ministry's social media posts, about 3,000 people fled Irpin on the outskirts Kyiv and boarded buses heading toward the capital. Officials said that there was no humanitarian corridor in place, but elderly and vulnerable people fled the area.

The country's southernmost region saw attempts to escape the city-encircled port of Mariupol by securing safe passage seemed to have failed again.

The city's southern part is in a severe humanitarian crisis. Several attempts to evacuate the affected area over the weekend failed after Ukrainian authorities claimed that Russian forces were continuing to bombard the area.

Russia was accused by the foreign ministry of violating another cease fire agreement. They shelled the humanitarian corridor, where 30 buses and eight trucks were available to evacuate and deliver aid.
Biden announced that the U.S. Biden announced Tuesday morning that the U.S. had placed a ban on Russian oil imports. This is the most severe action taken to strike Russia's economy since the war, and it comes after Zelenskyy urged.

It will push energy prices higher even though the U.S. has a lower dependence on Russian energy than its European allies. According to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers trade group, around 3 percent of U.S. crude oil imports were from Russia in 2021.

Tuesday's announcement by the United Kingdom was also made. It stated that it would end imports of Russian oil and products by 2022.

In a Tweet, Kwasi Kwasi Kwarteng (the country's secretary to state for business, energy and environment) stated that the transition period will allow the market, supply chains, and businesses more time to replace Russian imports, which account for 8 percent of U.K. demands.

Kwarteng stated in a separate tweet that "the U.K. is an important producer of oil, oil products and we hold significant reserves."

Moscow threatened Monday to stop the flow natural gas between Russia and Germany as a response to Berlin's decision last week to halt Nord Stream 2.

Alexander Novak, Deputy Prime Minister, stated that "we have every right" to make a similar decision and impose an Embargo on gas pumps through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

Shell, the oil giant, announced Tuesday that it will stop buying Russian oil and gas from the country. It also closed all its service stations in the country.

Ben van Beurden (CEO) apologized to the company for purchasing Russian crude oil last week. He also committed to giving all profits remaining to a fund.

The Kremlin warned against any involvement by the West as Russia's isolation has increased since the war started nearly two weeks ago. Zelenskyy, however, has called for greater support of Kyiv and harsher punishments against Moscow.

"We are not afraid"

While Russia's invasion of Ukraine has caused destruction and death in many areas, slow progress was made in its military offensive.

Civilians fled with their belongings in bags and children in their hands from the Russian attack on Westbound packed trains. They gathered at Ukraine's borders to flee.

Filippo Grandi, head of UN refugee agency, tweetedTuesday that two million people fled conflict-affected countries. This is the largest refugee crisis since World War II.

On Monday, Zelenskyy tried to increase morale as cities throughout the country suffered under Russian bombardment. Zelenskyy, who was seen working in Kyiv and not hiding, promised to rebuild the country and condemn Russian forces for attacking civilian infrastructure such as churches and bread factories.

He said, "It's like a nightmare for their," "They forgot that police vans, tanks and machine guns are not something we fear, when truth is what matters most.

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