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Evacuations in Mariupol, Ukraine failed as Russian forces shelled the city

Russian forces kept shelling Ukrainian cities despite a ceasefire attempt

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks from the podium with four people sitting behind him.
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  • Morgan Haefner
By Morgan Haefner

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Another planned evacuation of Mariupol, Ukraine failed. Russian forces kept shelling the city despite a ceasefire attempt. They also damaged a pipeline supplying gas to southeastern Ukraine and strengthened their hold of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

US gas topped $4 a gallon. Prices, driven up by the war in Ukraine, haven’t been this high since 2008. Similarly, oil increased more than 10% and is nearing all-time highs.

China’s GDP outlook hit a three-decade low. A real estate crisis and the country’s zero-covid policy are among the factors slowing growth to 5.5% this year.

Israel mediated Russia-Ukraine talks. Prime minister Naftali Bennett held separate meetings with both governments. Meanwhile, Russia snubbed a hearing at the UN’s top court.

Visa and Mastercard suspended service in Russia. The credit card giants want to further isolate the country in rebuke of its Ukraine invasion. Netflix is also pausing service in Russia, and Snapchat turned off its public map of Ukraine due to concerns for user safety.

TikTok halted new posts and livestreams in Russia. The move comes days after Russia passed a “fake news” law and blocked Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in the country (more below).

What to watch for

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi’s annual news briefing is today. Viewers will be closely watching for any further insight into how the country will approach the war in Ukraine. As the US and Europe hit Russia with unprecedented sanctions, Beijing has called them illegal and counterproductive.

China has long expressed its displeasure with what it calls the US’s “financial hegemony” and its corresponding ability to slap sanctions on foreign countries. Last year, Wang’s address was critical of the US’s interactions with foreign nations, and there’s a good chance he’ll express the same sentiment this year.

That much was the case on Saturday when the foreign minister spoke with his US counterpart, secretary of state Antony Blinken. According to a Chinese government statement, Wang encouraged talks between the US, the EU, NATO, and Russia, but condemned the “negative impact of NATO’s continuous eastward expansion” toward Russia.

What has Russia blocked?

The Russian government is cracking down on speech it doesn’t like, limiting its citizens’ access to media outside of the Kremlin’s grip.

Russian lawmakers passed a new law on March 4 criminalizing the spread of “false information” about its military. This is all separate from the external pressures from companies like Visa and Mastercard which have limited Russians’ access because of sanctions or in protesting the war. So what has Russia blocked, limited, or throttled?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • BBC’s Russian-language service
  • US-funded Radio Liberty
  • Independent news outlet Meduza
  • German broadcaster Deutsche Welle
  • The walkie-talkie app Zello

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