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Ukraine announces evacuation routes from 7 cities

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said there would be seven civilian escape routes on Thursday.

Six of the routes will take civilians fleeing heavy fighting in Trostyanets, Krasnopillya, Sumy, Mariupol, Volnovakha and Izyum to other parts of the country, while another will transport people from the outskirts of Kyiv to the center of the city.

Numerous attempts to evacuate civilians have been halted in recent days, with Ukrainian authorities accusing Russian forces of violating ceasefire agreements, attacking agreed escape routes and only allowing civilians to flee to Russia.

— Chloe Taylor

‘Close the skies and stop the bombings’: Ukrainian Zelensky urges allies to create no-fly zone

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a news conference in Kiev on March 3, 2022.

Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy renewed his call for Western allies to create a no-fly zone over the country, saying any further delay would be “too late” to avert a humanitarian disaster.

“We’re talking about closing the sky. You can’t decide to close or not to close, you can’t decide,” Zelenskky said. in an interview with Sky News.

“Do not wait [for] me asking you many times, a million times, to close the sky. No. You have to phone us…our people who have lost their children and say, ‘Sorry, we didn’t yesterday, a week ago. We didn’t push Putin, we didn’t talk much with him, we didn’t find a dialogue with him. We didn’t do anything.'”

“And it’s true. Yesterday the world did nothing. I’m sorry but it’s true,” Zelenskky said, calling on policymakers to act faster to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

“Close the skies and stop the bombings,” he said.

Asked about Western concerns of a no-fly zone leading to a direct confrontation with Russia, further aggravating the situation, Zelenskky replied: “So it would be worse for whom? For our families? No, for whom? For them “No, who knows? Nobody knows. But we know that’s exactly what’s happening now. And in the future, it will be too late.”

—Sam Meredith

Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers to meet for talks

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba briefs the media after a General Assembly meeting on the situation in Ukraine at the UN headquarters.

Lev Radin | Light flare | Getty Images

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is due to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Antalya, Turkey on Thursday for talks.

The two ministers will hold separate press conferences after the meeting.

—Chloe Taylor

IMF approves $1.4 billion in emergency financing for Ukraine

The seal of the International Monetary Fund is seen near the headquarters of the World Bank (R) in Washington, DC, January 10, 2022.

Stefani Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

The International Monetary Fund has approved $1.4 billion in emergency funding to support Ukraine’s economy, citing the devastating humanitarian crisis and destruction of infrastructure following the Russian invasion.

It is estimated that more than 2 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian assault began two weeks ago.

“The Russian military invasion of Ukraine has been responsible for a massive humanitarian and economic crisis,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.

“The tragic loss of life, huge refugee flows and immense destruction of infrastructure and productive capacity are causing severe human suffering and will lead to a deep recession this year. Financing needs are large, urgent and could increase dramatically as the war continues,” she added.

Earlier this week, the World Bank approved a package of grants and loans totaling $723 million to Ukraine.

—Sam Meredith

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Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.