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Live: McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Starbucks join other US firms halting Russia operations

Ukraine accused Russia on Wednesday of bombing a children’s hospital in the besieged port city of Mariupol, breaking a ceasefire agreement to enable some of the hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in the city to escape.

Russia and Ukraine early Wednesday agreed on a 12-hour ceasefire around a series of evacuation corridors to allow civilians to escape the fighting. But hours later, Ukraine accused Russia of breaking the ceasefire, preventing evacuations in the northern outskirts of Kyiv and the southern port city of Mariupol. Russia carried out an air strike on a children’s hospital in Mariupol during the supposed ceasefire, according to Ukrainian authorities. Confirmed casualty figures were not immediately available. A hospital official said 17 staff were wounded in the strike. The UN’s atomic watchdog, the IAEA, said it has not seen any “critical impact on safety” due to the loss of power at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. France is helping the IAEA assess the situation at the site. More than 200 technical staff and guards remain trapped at the site, working 13 days straight since the Russian takeover.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is set to meet his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in the Turkish city of Antalya on Thursday in the first high-level meeting between the two sides since the Russian invasion began on February 24. IAEA chief Rafael Grossi has also been invited to Antalya and said he hoped to “make progress” on ensuring the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear sites. The Pentagon on Wednesday conclusively rejected a plan to transfer Polish jets to Ukraine, calling it “high risk”. Russia for the first time acknowledged on Wednesday that it was using conscripts in what it calls its military operation in Ukraine.  The UN said the number of refugees fleeing Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24 surged past 2.2 million.Follow our live updates below. If updates do not appear, please refresh the page.

© Studio graphique France Médias Monde

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP and AP)

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