Germany registers more than 95,000 refugees from Ukraine
From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin
More than 95,000 refugees have arrived in Germany from Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion two weeks ago, according to Germany's interior ministry.
The ministry says it has registered 95,913 refugees from Ukraine, but the actual number of incoming refugees could be significantly higher, an interior spokesperson told CNN Thursday.
German Federal Police are now carrying out ''intensified checks'' at the border between Germany and Poland, where most Ukrainian refugees are coming from.
Germany's capital Berlin has become a major hub for refugees from Ukraine, city mayor Franziska Giffey said Wednesday night.
Over the past three days more than 13,000 refugees arrived in Berlin by train or bus, said Giffey, adding that others fled from Ukraine by car.
Most refugees from Ukraine intend to stay in Berlin, but the city has asked other German federal states for help.
More than two million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
These are some of the neighboring countries where Ukrainian refugees have fled:
5:31 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022
Ukraine likely to join European Union, French EU affairs minister says
From CNN’s Joseph Ataman and Camille Knight in Paris
French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said that Ukraine, among other Eastern European countries, will "probably" join the European Union "in a few years."
"It is my deep conviction that there will be a European Union which will be in a few years, I don't know when, in a few years, probably extended to Ukraine, to Moldova, to Georgia, perhaps to other countries," Beaune told French broadcaster France Inter, speaking ahead of a meeting of EU leaders today and Friday in Versailles, outside Paris.
The admission of Ukraine to the EU though "is not for tomorrow," he added.
Beaune joined a chorus of global condemnation of a Russian "massacre" on a Ukrainian maternity hospital, adding that strikes against civilians were intensifying.
The minister also reiterated the need to move away from Russian gas as "fast as possible," adding that "Russia counts on the fact that we have need of her."
"By buying Russian gas, we are financing the war of Vladimir Putin," he said.
Beaune also called for joint European military defense complementary to the NATO military alliance.
He said that this would require investment, and the possibility of funding these efforts through joint European debt would be discussed at the Versailles summit.
5:02 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022
Ukraine athletes appeal for peace as they hold a minute’s silence at 2022 Winter Paralympics
From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London
Ukrainian athletes and officials called for an end to the war in their country as they observed a minute’s silence at the Beijing Paralympics on Thursday.
Led by Ukrainian Paralympic Committee president Valerii Sushkevych, the entire delegation held up a "Peace For All" banner in the Zhangjiakou Athletes Village, accompanied by raised fists.
"It’s not only one-minute solidarity. Today one minute was about thousands of people, including children and people with disabilities," said Sushkevych.
"Today all civilized mankind looks in solidarity at this terrible war in our country, but I want to ask you (about your) role. If mankind is civilized, (it) must not overlook, (it) must stop the war in my country.
"(There) must be an understanding that children, people, women must live, not die. Today many, many people died. Stop war. If you are civilized, you must stop war."
Ukraine’s team captain Grigorii Vovchyynski called for a no-fly zone over the country.
"It (war) must be stopped now. It's not life for Ukraine, it's not life for our children, no future for all the world. Everyone (who) saw it, you must do something. Please close the sky above Ukraine."
Head coach Andriy Nesterenko added that seven members of the team were from Kharkiv, a city which in under ongoing attack by Russian forces.
Nesterenko said some of them will not "have the possibility to come back," adding: "Their flats, their private houses are already destroyed."
"We kindly ask the people all over the world, we need your support immediately. We need your support today, not later."
Ukrainian athletes have so far claimed six gold medals at the Games and sit third in the table behind China and Canada.
5:41 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich among seven Russian oligarchs added to UK sanctions list
From CNN's Niamh Kennedy and George Ramsay
The UK government has sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, freezing his assets, including English Premier League soccer club Chelsea.
In a statement Thursday, the UK government said Abramovich has had "his assets frozen, a prohibition on transactions with UK individuals and businesses, a travel ban and transport sanctions imposed."
Abramovich, who has owned Chelsea since 2003, announced last week that he was selling the club, but the sanctions now cast doubt on the sale and the immediate future of the Premier League side.
"To ensure the club can continue to compete and operate we are issuing a special licence that will allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches while, crucially, depriving Abramovich of benefiting from his ownership of the club," UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said in a tweet.
She added that the government's priority is to "hold those who have enabled the Putin regime to account."
According to the UK government, Chelsea can continue to "fulfil its fixtures and carry out football business," but certain actions will not be permitted, such as selling tickets for games beyond those already sold to fans.
Abramovich and Putin ally Igor Sechin are among seven oligarchs and politicians to be added to the UK's sanctions list.
The sanctions are estimated to be worth close to $20 billion (£15 billion), the UK government said.
Last month, UK lawmaker Chris Bryant called for Abramovich to lose ownership of Chelsea after seeing a leaked 2019 UK government document identifying Abramovich as an individual of interest due to his "links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices."
In its statement, the UK government said Abramovich, who is worth around $12 billion (more than £9 billion), is "one of the few oligarchs from the 1990s to maintain prominence under Putin."
Seven further oligarchs and politicians are being added to its sanctions list, including:
Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea FC and has stakes in steel giant Evraz and Norilsk Nickel
Oleg Deripaska, who has stakes in En+ Group
Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft
Andrey Kostin, chairman of VTB bank
Alexei Miller, CEO of energy company Gazprom
Nikolai Tokarev, president of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft
Dmitri Lebedev, chairman of the board of directors of Bank Rossiya
3:53 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022
3 dead after Mariupol maternity hospital bombing
From Tim Lister in Kyiv
Three people died after they were injured in a Russian bomb attack on a maternity hospital in southern Ukraine, Mariupol city council said Thursday
"As of today, we know that after the terrorist bombing by Russian aircraft of the children's hospital in Mariupol there are 17 victims — children, women, doctors — and three died, among them one child, a girl," the council said.
The full extent of the casualties is unclear but preliminary reports said at least 17 people were injured in the bombing.
3:41 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022
France condemns Russian attack against Mariupol maternity hospital
From CNN’s Joseph Ataman in Paris
French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal has denounced a Russian strike against a maternity and children's hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, as “inhumane” and “unjustifiable.”
“I want to say in the name of the French government that the strike by Russia against Mariupol’s pediatric hospital was inhumane and cowardly. It’s women, children, health care workers who were targeted, it’s unjustifiable,” he said in an interview with French radio station RTL.
Calling again for a ceasefire in Ukraine, Attal predicted the worst is yet to come in the Russian invasion.
3:31 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022
Ukraine says it is opening new humanitarian corridors
From CNN's Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych
The Ukrainian government said it is opening humanitarian corridors in several parts of the country Thursday.
As of 10 a.m. local time it was not clear whether the corridors — designed to allow civilians to escape to safer regions — had been agreed with Russia or international humanitarian agencies.
Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukrainian minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, said on Facebook the corridors would apply to three routes in eastern Ukraine — Sumy to Poltava, Trostianets to Poltava and Krasnopilllia to Poltava.
Another corridor is set to be opened from the eastern city of Izium to the city of Lozova in Kharkiv region. Additionally, she said, the Ukrainians planned to open corridors from the besieged city of Mariupol to Zaporizhzia
Vereshchuk added that a corridor would be opened from districts north of the capital, Kyiv: Bucha, Borodianka, Irpin and Hostomel. Attempts to evacuate people from those districts Wednesday were only partially successful.
2:58 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022
More evacuations planned in Ukraine's Sumy region on Thursday
From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv
Three evacuation corridors are planned to be opened in Ukraine's northeastern Sumy region on Thursday, the head of the regional administration Dmytro Zhyvytsky said on his official Telegram channel.
"Green corridors" allow civilians to escape to safer regions of the country as Russian forces bombard Ukrainian cities.
The proposed evacuation routes were tentatively set to start at 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET) Thursday, he said, with civilians heading to Poltava, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) away in central Ukraine.
Some context: Nearly 35,000 people were rescued via humanitarian corridors in Ukraine on Wednesday, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky. Ukrainian authorities were preparing six humanitarian corridors to get people out of areas under attack by Russian forces, he added.
But local authorities in areas close to Kyiv said efforts to evacuate people to safety Wednesday failed. The city council of Bucha said 50 buses were blocked by the Russian military in nearby Stoyanka.
2:20 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022
Calls grow for international investigation into alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the Russian bombing of a maternity and children's hospital in the southern city of Mariupol Wednesday a "war crime" and "proof of a genocide of Ukrainians."
"We never did and we would have never done nothing like this anything close to this war crime in any cities of Donetsk or Luhansk region, or any region," he said, referring to two separatist-held territories of eastern Ukraine.
The UN said it would follow up "urgently" and that health care facilities, hospitals and health workers should not "ever, ever be a target."
On Wednesday, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova called for a "new model" of investigative efforts to tackle alleged war crimes in the country, saying a special tribunal should be created for the "unprecedented" crisis. She said 39 countries have joined Ukraine’s appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Russia.
Russia's attack of a nuclear power plant, suspected use of cluster bombs and so-called vacuum bombs in dense areas, and targeting of hospitals, schools and civilian areas have also been described as war crimes.
Last week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) said it would immediately proceed with an active investigation of possible war crimes following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The UN is also establishing a Commission of Inquiry to investigate possible human rights violations by Russia.
What is a war crime? The ICC has specific definitions for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. Targeting civilian populations, violating the Geneva Conventions, targeting specific groups of people and more could be potential Russian war crimes. "One thing is certain, that intentionally directing shelling or targeting civilians or civilian objects is a crime within the jurisdiction of the court," the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, told CNN last week.
What is the ICC? Located in The Hague, Netherlands, and created by a treaty called the Rome Statute first brought before the UN, the ICC operates independently. Some 123 countries are parties to the treaty, but there are very large and notable exceptions, including Russia and the United States. And, for that matter, Ukraine.