Russia attacks Ukraine: Thousands of Ukrainians flee Sumy

The Russian invasion into Ukraine entered its 13th day Tuesday as civilians waited to hear whether they could safely flee using humanitarian evacuation corridors.

>> Read more trending news

According to The Associated Press, the Kremlin said the corridors could open Tuesday, but Ukrainian officials were skeptical, saying Russian shelling had continued during previous evacuation efforts.

Meanwhile, Russia made significant advances in parts of southern Ukraine, but Russian troops stalled in other areas, the AP reported.

Here are the latest updates:

KFC parent Yum Brands halting operations, investments in Russia

Update 11:32 p.m. EST March 8: Yum Brands, parent company of KFC, confirmed to Reuters that it is suspending operations of its 70 KFC company-owned restaurants in Russia and pausing investment in the country.

Yum is also finalizing an agreement to suspend all Pizza Hut restaurant operations in Russia, the news outlet reported.

Yum, which counts at least 1,000 KFC and 50 Pizza Hut locations in Russia that are nearly all independent franchisees, said in a post on its website dated Monday that it had “suspended all investment and restaurant development in Russia while we continue to assess additional options.”

Japan sends bulletproof vests to Ukraine

Update 11:05 p.m. EST March 8: Japan’s Self-Defense Forces sent bulletproof vests to Ukraine on Tuesday, a first for the nation that adopted a pacifist constitution after World War II, CNN reported.

According to a statement issued by Japan’s Defense Ministry, strict guidelines that ban the transfer of defense supplies from Japan to parties in conflict were updated Tuesday to allow defense equipment assigned by the defense minister to be given to Ukraine following Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, the network reported.

The supplies were dispatched in response to a request from Ukraine’s defense minister last Friday.

According to the Defense Ministry, Japan is also planning to deliver other non-lethal emergency supplies to Ukraine, including food, hygiene products, cameras, power generators, tents and winter clothing, CNN reported.

Thousands of Ukrainians flee Sumy

Update 10:13 p.m. EST March 8: Ukrainian authorities are reporting that thousands of people have fled the city of Sumy after a humanitarian corridor was established.

Deputy Chief of Staff Kyrylo Tymoshenko said some 5,000 people have been evacuated from Sumy and estimated that about 1,000 vehicles were able to leave the city, The Guardian reported.

Those evacuated were mostly women, children and residents of other countries.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the creation of the humanitarian corridor from Sumy to Poltava in a speech earlier Tuesday, calling it “a small fraction of what has to be done.”

VP Harris to depart for Poland, Romania visit on Wednesday

Update 8:22 p.m. EST March 8: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is slated to embark Wednesday on a three-day trip to Poland and Romania, with stops expected in Warsaw and Bucharest, CNN reported, citing a Friday announcement by the White House.

According to the network, Harris will meet with the leaders of both countries to “coordinate on their response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and discuss how the U.S. can further support Ukraine’s neighboring nations as they prepare to welcome Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflict.”

The White House stated that the leaders will also “discuss their continuing support for the people of Ukraine through security, economic, and humanitarian assistance and our determination to impose severe economic consequences on Russia and those complicit in Russia’s invasion.”

1M children have fled Ukraine, UN says

Update 8:12 p.m. EST March 8: The Russian invasion of Ukraine has driven more than 2 million people out of the country, including an estimated 1 million children, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The overall figure equals the “historic flow of mainly Syrian refugees into Europe in 2015 and 2016,” CNN reported.

Universal Music, Bumble halt business in Russia

Update 8:05 p.m. EST March 8: The corporate exodus from Russia continued late Tuesday, with Universal Music Group NV and dating app Bumble announcing suspension of all operations in Russia, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Universal, the world’s largest music company, confirmed it is also closing all Russian offices immediately, while Bumble, the firm behind the eponymous app and Badoo, is removing all of its dating apps from Apple Inc.’s App Store and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Play Store in Russia and Belarus, the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, similar discussions are ongoing at other major music houses, including Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Group and Warner Music Group Corp., the Journal reported.

Ukraine’s first lady: ‘A horrific reality’

Update 6 p.m. EST March 8: Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, published an open letter Tuesday condemning “the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians,” the BBC reported.

In the letter, Zelenska said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created a “horrific reality” for millions, especially children.

Her praise for the Ukrainian people, however, was direct.

“The aggressor, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, thought that he would unleash blitzkrieg on Ukraine. But he underestimated our country, our people, and their patriotism,” she wrote, adding, “While Kremlin propagandists bragged that Ukrainians would welcome them with flowers as saviours, they have been shunned with Molotov cocktails.”

Zelenska then called on the global media to “keep showing what is happening here and keep showing the truth.”

“If we don’t stop Putin, who threatens to start a nuclear war, there will be no safe place in the world for any of us,” she concluded.

Amazon nixes new AWS customers from Russia, Belarus

Update 5:46 p.m. EST March 8: Amazon Web Services, the online retail behemoth’s cloud-computing unit, confirmed Tuesday that it is no longer accepting new customers based on Russia or Belarus, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Unlike other U.S. technology providers, AWS has no data centers, infrastructure or offices in Russia, and we have a long-standing policy of not doing business with the Russian government,” the company stated in a blog that was first posted Friday and then updated Tuesday to reflect the change.

“We have also stopped allowing new sign-ups for AWS in Russia and Belarus,” the statement continued.

According to the Journal, Amazon cloud-computing rival Microsoft Corp. suspended new sales in Russia last week, and the Ukrainian government petitioned Amazon directly to follow suit.

“Suspending the provision of AWS services in the Russian Federation will support a global united motion of many governments and businesses who have chosen long-term stability and growth over potential temporary profit losses,” Mykhailo Fedorov, a Ukrainian deputy prime minister, wrote in a letter to Amazon that he posted on Twitter on Sunday.

EU proposal would cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds

Update 5:36 p.m. EST March 8: The European Commission on Tuesday presented a plan to cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year, stopping just short of severing energy ties to Moscow, The Washington Post reported.

The proposal, slated for debate during a Paris summit this week, frames the curbs to Russian imports as a first step toward full independence from fossil fuels “well before” 2030, the Post reported, noting that first steps include finding new gas suppliers; boosting the production and import of biomethane and renewable hydrogen; and upgrading buildings to reduce energy consumption.

Ukraine responds to Russia cease-fire proposal

Update 5:27 p.m. EST March 8: Russia on Tuesday announced a new cease-fire, slated to begin Wednesday at 9 a.m. local time in Ukraine.

Russian media reported the cease-fire parameters quoting the Russian Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine, CNN reported.

The cease-fire is intended to provide evacuation corridors from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol, among other cities.

In a Telegram post, the Ukrainian Armed Forces confirmed that the proposal offers a “silence regime” for the opening of humanitarian corridors, noting that “Russia will request that Ukraine agree on the routes and opening hours of humanitarian corridors and notify representatives of foreign embassies, the UN, the OSCE, and the Red Cross” by 2 a.m. Wednesday in Kyiv.

“It is difficult to trust the occupier,” the post concluded, according to CNN.

PepsiCo halts drink sales in Russia

Update 4:58 p.m. EST March 8: PepsiCo on Tuesday became the latest U.S.-based food-and-beverage company to scale back business in Russia, following the country’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Although the firm confirmed it is suspending sales of Pepsi-Cola in Russia, as well as its global drink brands including 7up and Mirinda, Pepsi will continue selling daily essentials such as baby formula, the BBC reported.

In a prepared statement obtained by The Guardian, PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta offered the following insight into the company’s decision:

“As many of you know, we have been operating in Russia for more than 60 years, and we have a place in many Russian homes. Pepsi-Cola entered the market at the height of the Cold War and helped create common ground between the United States and the Soviet Union. However, given the horrific events occurring in Ukraine we are announcing the suspension of the sale of Pepsi-Cola, and our global beverage brands in Russia, including 7Up and Mirinda. We will also be suspending capital investments and all advertising and promotional activities in Russia.

“My heart goes out to all those who are caught in the middle of this deadly conflict. As it so often does, war is falling hardest on the innocent. War is never an answer, and we join all those calling for a speedy, peaceful resolution.”

Read the full statement.

Coca-Cola Company suspends business in Russia

Update 3:55 p.m. EST March 8: Officials with the Coca-Cola Company on Tuesday announced plans to suspend business operations in Russia amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Our hearts are with the people who are enduring unconscionable effects from these tragic events in Ukraine,” company officials said in a news release. “We will continue to monitor and assess the situation as circumstances evolve.”

>> Related: Visa, Mastercard suspend services in Russia amid invasion of Ukraine

Tuesday’s announcement came after companies including the coffee chain Starbucks, consumer goods giant Unilever, fast-food chain McDonald’s and several others announced plans to halt or alter their business operations in Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine. Earlier Tuesday, Ukrainian officials asked businesses to halt operations in Russia, saying that businesses that had were “refusing to finance Russian violence, murders and crimes against humanity with their taxes.”

Russia launched attacks on its neighbor to the west on Feb. 24. Since then, officials fear that thousands of people have died.

Starbucks halting operations in Russia

Update 3:40 p.m. EST March 8: Officials with the coffee chain Starbucks on Tuesday announced that the company is suspending its operations in Russia, including shipment of all Starbucks products.

“Our licensed partner has agreed to immediately pause store operations and will provide support to the nearly 2,000 partners in Russia who depend on Starbucks for their livelihood,” Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Starbucks, said in a letter shared by the company.

He added that the company condemns “the horrific attacks on Ukraine by Russia and our hearts go out to all those affected.”

Several businesses have announced plans to pull out of or suspend business in Russia in response to the ongoing attack on Ukraine, which began Feb. 24. Officials fear thousands have been killed in the conflict.

Unilever suspends imports to, exports from Russia

Update 3:10 p.m. EST March 8: Officials with consumer goods giant Unilever on Tuesday announced that the company is suspending imports to and exports from Russia, along with all advertising in the country, due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, Unilever CEO Alan Jope called the ongoing conflict in Ukraine a “brutal and senseless act by the Russian state.”

“Our business operations in Ukraine have stopped and we are now fully focused on ensuring the safety of our Ukrainian employees and their families, including helping with their evacuation where necessary and providing additional financial support,” Jope said.

“We have suspended all imports and exports of our products into and out of Russia, and we will stop all media and advertising spend. We will not invest any further capital into the country nor will we profit from our presence in Russia. We will continue to supply our everyday essential food and hygiene products made in Russia to people in the country. We will keep this under close review.”

Unilever, whose portfolio includes such well-known brands as Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Knorr, Magnum and Seventh Generation, has committed to donate €5 million ($5.4 million) worth of products to support humanitarian relief efforts, Jope said.

“We join calls for an end to this war and hope that peace, human rights, and the international rule of law will prevail,” he added.

Zelenskyy thanks Biden, US for ‘striking in the heart of Putin’s war machine’

Update 2:10 p.m. EST March 8: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked U.S. President Joe Biden for his “personal leadership in striking in the heart of Putin’s war machine and banning oil, gas and cold from (the U.S.) market.”

He shared thanks on social media after Biden announced that the U.S. will ban imports of Russian oil, gas and energy in response to the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy says Ukraine ‘will not give up’

Update 1:05 p.m. EST March 8: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy evoked British wartime leader Winston Churchill as he told the U.K. Parliament that his country would fight Russia’s invasion to the end in Ukraine’s cities, fields and riverbanks.

Zelenskyy told British lawmakers “we will not give up and we will not lose,” in a speech that evoked Churchill’s stirring “never surrender” speech during the darkest days of World War II.

Speaking by video from Ukraine to a packed House of Commons chamber, Zelenskyy urged Britain to increase sanctions on Russia and to recognize Russia as “a terrorist country.”

Tuesday’s address was the first time a foreign leader was allowed to speak in the House of Commons. Screens and simultaneous translation headsets were set up in the House of Commons so lawmakers could hear him.

McDonald’s temporarily closing restaurants in Russia

Update 12:50 p.m. EST March 8: Officials with McDonald’s said the company plans to close its 850 restaurants across Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a letter shared Tuesday by the company and earlier sent to employees and franchisees, the fast-food chain’s president and CEO, Chris Kempckinski, said that it was impossible to know when the restaurants would be able to reopen. However, “our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine,” he said.

The company will continue to pay its 62,000 employees in Russia, according to The Associated Press. The chain has also temporarily closed 100 restaurants in Ukraine and is continuing to pay its employees in the country, the AP reported.

‘Defending freedom is going to cost,’ Biden says

Update 11:50 a.m. EST March 8: President Joe Biden on Tuesday acknowledged again that measures taken to punish Russia amid the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine were likely to hurt Americans, reiterating from the White House that “defending freedom is going to cost.”

“Putin’s war is already hurting American families at the gas pump,” the president said. “Since Putin began his military buildup on Ukrainian borders, just since then, the price of gas at the pump in America went up 75 cents, and with this action it’s going to go up further. I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home.”

Last week, officials announced that member states of the International Energy Agency, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea and several European countries, agreed to release 60 million barrels of crude oil from their strategic petroleum reserves. The release includes 30 million barrels from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

On Tuesday, Biden praised oil and gas companies that have announced plans to pull business from Russia in response to the country’s military action in Ukraine. He also urged businesses not to “exploit this situation or American consumers.”

“Russia’s aggression is costing us all, and it’s no time for profiteering or price-gouging,” the president said.

Biden: US banning imports of Russian oil, gas, energy

Update 11:30 a.m. EST March 8: President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced that the U.S. is banning imports of Russian oil, gas and energy in response to the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking Tuesday morning from the White House, the president called oil “the main artery of the Russian economy.”

The decision “means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at U.S. ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war machine,” Biden said.

The announcement comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Western nations, including the U.S., to end Russian oil imports to cut off funding to Russia amid the ongoing conflict. Shortly before Biden spoke Tuesday, officials in the United Kingdom announced plans to phase out Russian oil imports.

“Americans have ... rallied to support the Ukrainian people and made it clear we will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war,” Biden said Tuesday.

UK to phase out Russian oil imports by end of year

Update 11:25 a.m. EST March 8: The United Kingdom plans to phase out Russian oil and oil product imports by the end of 2022, according to British officials.

In a series of Twitter posts, British Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng said the planned transition time “will give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports -- which make up 8% of UK demand.”

The announcement comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Western nations to end imports of Russian oil amid the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to announce a similar move later Tuesday.

CERN suspends Russia’s observer status

Update 10:55 a.m. EST March 8: The international scientific laboratory that is home to the world’s largest atom smasher says it is suspending Russia’s observer status and halting any new collaboration with Russia or its institutions “until further notice.”

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, said its 23 member states — all European, plus Israel — condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine is one of seven associate member states, and Russia, like the United States, Japan and the European Union, has had observer status.

The CERN council made the decisions about Russia at a special meeting on Tuesday and expressed its support “to the many members of CERN’s Russian scientific community who reject this invasion.”

CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator.

Ukraine accuses Russia of violating ceasefire

Update 9:45 a.m. EST March 8: Ukrainian officials on Tuesday accused Russian forces of violating a ceasefire agreement by shelling a humanitarian corridor from Zaporizhzhia to Mariupol.

In a statement posted on social media, foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said shelling was reported Tuesday afternoon.

It was not clear whether the shelling was ongoing later Tuesday.

Buses emblazoned with red cross symbols and carrying water, basic food staples and medicines on Tuesday moved toward Mariupol, the scene of some of the worst desperation of the war. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the vehicles would later ferry civilians out of the city.

Biden expected to announce ban on Russian oil imports

Update 8:45 a.m. EST March 8: President Joe Biden is expected to announce that the U.S. will halt imports of Russian oil, natural gas and coal in response to the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine during a news conference scheduled Tuesday morning, according to The Associated Press and CNN.

Biden will “announce actions to continue to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine,” White House officials said.

The decision is expected after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged officials from the U.S. and other Western countries to end imports to cut off financial support for Russia. On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said discussions were ongoing among officials about whether to ban Russian oil.

“What the president is most focused on is ensuring we are continuing to take steps to deliver punishing economic consequences on Putin while taking all action necessary to limit the impact to prices at the gas pump,” she said.

In 2021, before Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, the U.S. was importing about 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil and petroleum while Europeans were importing about 4.5 million barrels daily, Psaki said.

Ukraine asks businesses to suspend operations in Russia

Update 8:30 a.m. EST March 8: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday urged businesses to end operation in or with Russia amid the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

>> Related: Visa, Mastercard suspend services in Russia amid invasion of Ukraine

“I call on you and your organization to join the ethically and socially responsible global businesses, which have already stopped or suspended operations with or in the Russian Federation, refusing to finance Russian violence, murders and crimes against humanity with their taxes,” Kuleba wrote in a letter dated Tuesday and shared online.

Several businesses have suspended operations in Russia in response to the conflict in Ukraine, including fashion retailer H&M, computer company Dell and furniture giant Ikea.

>> Related: Companies are pulling out of Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. Here’s a list

Ukraine estimates 400 civilians killed, 800 hurt since Russian invasion began

Update 8 a.m. EST March 8: Ukraine’s defense minister estimated Tuesday that more than 400 civilians have been killed and 800 wounded since Russian forces invaded the country late last month, according to the AP.

“These data are definitely incomplete,” Oleksiy Reznikov said via video, adding that the dead included 38 children. More than 70 children have been wounded, he said.

The AP did not independently verify the numbers.

Shell says it will stop buying Russian oil, natural gas

Update 7 a.m. EST March 8: Shell said in a statement Tuesday that it will stop buying Russian oil and natural gas, according to the AP. The company also pledged to shut down its service stations and other operations in Russia, the news agency reported.

“Shell PLC (Shell) today announced its intent to withdraw from its involvement in all Russian hydrocarbons, including crude oil, petroleum products, gas and liquefied natural gas ... in a phased manner, aligned with new government guidance,” the statement read. “As an immediate first step, the company will stop all spot purchases of Russian crude oil. It will also shut its service stations, aviation fuels and lubricants operations in Russia.”

Number of Ukrainian refugees grows to 2 million

Update 6 a.m. EST March 8: More than 2 million people have fled Ukraine since Russian forces invaded the country late last month, the United Nations’ refugee agency said Tuesday.

According to the AP, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said that since Feb. 24, about 2 million people from Ukraine have arrived in other countries, including 1.2 million in Poland, 191,000 in Hungary and nearly 141,000 in Slovakia.

Russia, Ukraine agree to safe corridor from Sumy

Update 5 a.m. EST March 8: Russian and Ukrainian officials have agreed to establish a safe corridor for civilian evacuations from Sumy to Poltava, the AP reported Tuesday.

Both countries said they will observe a cease-fire from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Ukraine time to allow civilians, including students from India and China, to safely flee in buses or private cars, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

UK defense secretary says Russia is becoming desperate

Update 4 a.m. EST March 8: U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Russian troops are becoming desperate amid continuing logistical problems and Ukrainian resistance, the AP reported Tuesday. That desperation has led to the shelling of civilians, Wallace said, according to the news agency.

Ukrainian forces’ resistance endured in Hostomel, Bucha, Vorzel and Irpin as Russian troops tried to advance toward Kyiv, the U.K. Defense Ministry said. Additional Russian forces remained stuck north of Kyiv, according to the ministry.

1.2 million people have fled from Ukraine to Poland, officials say

Update 3 a.m. EST March 8: The Polish Border Guard said Tuesday that about 1.2 million people have fled from Ukraine to Poland amid the Russian invasion, according to CNN and Reuters.

Authorities said about 141,500 Ukrainian refugees arrived in Poland on Monday, the news outlets reported. Another 35,300 refugees crossed into Poland by 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Pakistan sends plane to evacuate 300 who fled from Ukraine to Poland

Update 2 a.m. EST March 8: Pakistan sent a plane to Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday to evacuate about 300 Pakistanis who fled from Ukraine to Poland, according to the AP. The majority of the evacuees are students, Pakistan International Airlines said.

Pakistan has not condemned the Russian invasion, despite calling for a cease-fire and negotiations, the AP reported.

Nissan plans to halt production at Russian plant

Update 1 a.m. EST March 8: Nissan plans to halt production at its Russian plant, the AP is reporting.

The Japanese automaker shared the news Tuesday, saying production at the St. Petersburg plant would stop “soon” because of “logistical challenges,” the AP reported. The company, which previously stopped exports to Russia, also said its No. 1 priority is its employees’ safety.

The plant produced 45,000 vehicles in 2001, according to the AP.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related content:

Vladimir Putin: Who is Russia’s president?

Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Who is Ukraine’s president?

What does the Russian invasion of Ukraine mean for America’s economy?

Russia attacks Ukraine: How to donate to people in Ukraine

6 things to know about Ukraine

Why did Russia fight for control of Chernobyl, the site of a nuclear disaster?

How to talk to children about the conflict in Ukraine

Ukraine invasion: What sanctions are being imposed on Russia?

World’s largest airplane reportedly destroyed in Ukraine

Ukrainian government raises $20 million after plea for cryptocurrency

Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively to match up to $1M in donations to Ukraine refugees

Green Day cancels stadium concert in Moscow

Russia, Ukraine crisis: Cruise lines change itineraries due to conflict

What are war crimes, and could Russia be committing them in Ukraine?

Visa, Mastercard suspend services in Russia amid invasion of Ukraine

American Express suspends operations in Russia, Belarus

Comments on this article