Hello and welcome back to The Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.
I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be bringing you the latest developments until my colleague, Martin Belam, takes over the reins a bit later.
It is just after 7 in the morning in Ukraine. This is what we know so far:
- Russia has given Mariupol a new ultimatum to surrender today at 2pm. In a statement issued Wednesday morning, the Russian Defense Ministry said its forces had opened a humanitarian corridor from the Azovstal plant “for the withdrawal of the Ukrainian military” to “voluntarily lay down arms” as well as to evacuate the civilians.
- A commander of the Ukrainian marines fighting in Mariupol said his forces “may be facing our last days, if not hours.” and appealed for removal in a video message posted to his Facebook account early Wednesday morning. We are probably facing our last days, if not hours. The enemy outnumbers us 10 to one,” said Serhiy Volyna of the 36th Separate Marine Brigade.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the intensity of the Russian troops’ fire towards Kharkiv, Donbas and Dnipro has “increased significantly”, a day after the Kremlin launched its long-awaited offensive in eastern Ukraine. Russian officials said a total of 1,260 military targets were hit by rockets and artillery along the 300-mile front in the Donbas and Kharkiv regions.
- Zelenskiy said the situation in the besieged city of Mariupol is “as serious as possible.”. “The Russian military is blocking any efforts to organize humanitarian corridors and save our people,” Zelenskiy said in his late-night address. “The fate of at least tens of thousands of Mariupol residents who were previously relocated to Russian-controlled territory is unknown.”
- Russian forces seized Kreminna in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and Ukrainian troops withdrew from the city, the regional governor said. Kreminna, a city of more than 18,000 people about 560 kilometers (350 miles) southeast of kyiv, appears to be the first city captured in a Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine.
- Russia has increased its offensive in the Donbas but its progress has been hampered by “environmental, logistical and technical challenges”, the UK said. “Russian shelling and attacks on the Donbas line of control continue to increase, with the Ukrainians repelling numerous advance attempts by Russian forces,” the UK Ministry of Defense said Tuesday night.
- Russia has deployed up to 20,000 mercenaries from Syria, Libya and elsewhere in Ukraine’s Donbas region, according to a European official. The official said the mercenaries are being sent into battle without heavy equipment or armored vehicles.
- Dozens of young Ethiopians gathered at the Russian embassy in the capital, Addis Ababa., on Monday following rumors that soldiers were being recruited to fight in the war in Ukraine, multiple reports suggest. Photos circulating on social media purport to show the lonely line of hopeful recruits.
- In his late-night speech, Zelenskiy stated that if Ukraine had access to all the weapons it needs, “Y which are comparable to the weapons used by the Russian Federation, we would have already finished this war. It is unfair that Ukraine is still forced to order what its partners have been storing somewhere for years.”
- US President Joe Biden will announce another military aid package for Ukraine roughly the same size as the $800 million US President announced last week.what would lead to more than $3 billion of total US aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion. Biden told reporters that he is not sure if he will go to kyiv.
- The UK plans to equip kyiv with anti-ship missiles Y armored missile launchers – even by assembly British Brimstone Rockets to vehicles.
- Germany has also said it will work with private military equipment manufacturers to help Ukraine meet its weapons requirements. after exhausting the weapons that can be provided. “We intend to pay for these deliveries,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a news conference in Berlin on Tuesday.
- Russia is expelling 31 Dutch, Belgian and Austrian diplomats as Moscow faces increased international isolation. It comes after the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria announced the expulsion of some Russian diplomats.
- Canada said it will impose targeted sanctions on 14 people, including the two adult daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin.according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry.
- China has criticized Western actions in Ukrainesaying the the supply of offensive weapons “will only prolong and escalate the conflict” and some sanctions are “equivalent to arming economic interdependence” in statements made at the latest UN security council briefing.
- Western nations are preparing to stage coordinated strikes and other diplomatic snubs to protest Wednesday’s meeting of G20 finance ministers. in Washington, his officials said.
- Direct communications between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant are restoredaccording to a statement issued Tuesday night by the IAEA Director General, Rafael Mariano Grossi.
- Russian businessman Oleg Tinkov spoke out against the “crazy” war in Ukraine and called supporters of Moscow’s military actions “idiots.” In an Instagram post, Tinkov, who has been sanctioned by the UK government, said “90% of Russians are against” the war.
As usual, feel free to contact me by email or Twitter for any advice or comment.