Monday, January 30, 2023


Russian Troops with President Putin inset

Russia announces temporary ceasefire in two Ukranian  besieged cities – Mariupol and Volnovakha

According to Russia Defense Ministry, the temporary ceasefire began at 07:00 GMT and has been confirmed by Ukrainian authorities

Mariupol – a key southern port – has been besieged by Russian forces for days

Earlier, Ukraine’s president condemned NATO leaders for ruling out a no-fly zone over his country

The no-fly zone would aim to stop Russian warplanes – but the West says it does not want to escalate the war.


Russia has banned Facebook, and now there are reports it has also blocked access to Twitter and YouTube.


More than 1.2m people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began, the UN says

Ukraine confirms temporary ceasefire in two cities

We first heard about the temporary ceasefire and humanitarian corridors in two south-eastern Ukrainian cities from the Russian defence ministry – which said it had been agreed with the Ukrainian side.

Now we have official Ukrainian confirmation from the head of the Donetsk region military administration, Pavlo Kirilenko.

He confirms the temporary ceasefire from 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT), and says that his administration is currently working on the details of the evacuation.

Why are Mariupol and Volnovakha strategically important?

Mariupol – a port city of 450,000 people in the south-east of the country – is encircled by Russian forces and has come under heavy shelling.

If Mariupol falls, it would give Russia control of one of Ukraine’s biggest ports and create a land corridor between Crimea – which Russia annexed in 2014 – and the Russian-backed regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

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What about Volnovakha? This smaller city is perhaps less familiar. It sits to the north of Mariupol and has also endured heavy clashes since the invasion began.

The city is a key spot as it sits on the road between Mariupol and Russia-controlled Donetsk.


Elsewhere, the fighting continues. Multiple explosions were heard in Kharkiv, in the north-east of Ukraine

In the eastern city of Sumy, which is surrounded by Russian troops, shelling began at 05:00 (02:00 GMT) according to Ukrainian media.

Overnight explosions and shelling reported across cities

Although a “temporary ceasefire” has been announced in two cities, the war continues across the country.

Ukrainian media has been reporting explosions and impending air raids in various cities as the Russian assault enters its tenth day.

Shelling in the eastern city of Sumy, currently surrounded by Russian troops, began at 05:00 (02:00 GMT) local time on Saturday, according to news channel Ukraine-24.

Ukranian President Zelenskyy – Hailed by the world as a man of courage

The Kyiv Independent outlet reported that multiple explosions were heard in Kharkiv. A resident sheltering in a train station tweeted about rockets hitting the platform as early as 03:00 local time on Saturday.

The Kyiv Independent has also been tweeting about air raid alerts in the capital Kyiv, as well as in Sumy, Zhytomyr, and Chernihiv cities, asking people to go to the nearest shelter.


I saw a steady stream of people coming into Poland from Ukraine at one of the points where you can cross on foot. Most were in small groups, families but also people who had met on the journey.

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I asked one young man, Nikita, how he had managed to avoid the restrictions on men of fighting age leaving Ukraine – he told me he would be 18 in a month, and thus had a small window to get out.

After the arrivals pass through a white tent on the Polish side, some are met by relatives or friends -or travel on alone if they know where they are going and have the means to fund their onward journey.

Ilona, a manicurist from Kyiv, was poised at first but broke down when she spoke of the husband she had left behind.

 The woman next to her was traveling with a child, her seven-year-old daughter Liza, who she said now knew all about Putin and being under attack.

This group was being hosted by a Ukrainian friend living in Poland, Yevgeny, who was there to greet them but is desperately worried about his own wife and daughter who are in Mariupol. It’s been under bombardment and he has no way of getting them out.

The only comfort at the moment is that they are still in phone contact.

It’s time to stop saying that it is somehow unbelievable that this can be happening in 2022.It is no more unbelievable now than it was in 1914 or 1939.

Peace is always fragile – and what happens even in the most distant corners of Europe will always affect all of us.

But drawing the right lessons from big moments when everything changes is not easy.

The question for our generation is whether or not we miscalculated how to handle Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed.

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Western Europe’s main reaction to the end of the Cold War was to take a 30-year holiday from serious defence spending.

But this new age of containment is going to call for much more.




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