Civilian casualties continue to rise in Ukraine amid continuous Russian attacks on cities across the country. But Ukraine's armed forces said Tuesday that the pace of Russia's invasion has "slowed significantly."
Russian forces disrupted humanitarian escape corridors established around the cities of Mariupol and Sumy, according to the U.K. Defence Ministry. That would mark the third consecutive day that Vladimir Putin's forces have broken their own supposed cease-fire agreements.
The latest breach comes after the U.N. called for safe passages to be established in Ukraine so civilians can leave.
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak threatened to cut off gas supply to Europe if governments sanction energy imports, warning that it could lead to oil prices surging above $300 a barrel.
U.S. President Joe Biden said the nation plans to ban imports of Russian oil, a major escalation in the international response to Moscow's aggression.
Russian troops violate another ceasefire that was supposed to let civilians escape, UK says
Russian forces reportedly inflicted shelling and small arms fire on escape corridors that were designed to let Ukrainian civilians escape the cities of Mariupol and Sumy.
The U.K. Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update that the violence marks a third consecutive day that Russian forces have violated their own supposed cease-fire agreements.
Despite the dangers, the ministry said it is likely that some civilians have managed to escape the besieged cities.
"Those civilians forced to remain continue to suffer from shortages of power, food and water, exacerbated by heavy Russian shelling," the ministry said.
Fitch downgrades Russia's debt, saying default was imminent
Fitch downgraded Russia's sovereign rating by six notches further into the junk territory to 'C' from 'B', saying a default is imminent as sanctions and trade restrictions have undermined its willingness to service debt.
The country's financial markets have been thrown into turmoil by Western sanctions after it invaded Ukraine, raising significant concerns over its ability and willingness to service debt.
The rating firm pointed to Presidential decree, which could potentially force a redenomination of foreign-currency sovereign debt payments into local currency for creditors in specified countries.
"Further ratcheting up of sanctions and proposals that could limit trade in energy increase probability of a policy response by Russia that includes at least selective non-payment of its sovereign debt obligations," the ratings agency said in a statement.
Ukrainian refugees arrive in Poland
After taking trains from Ukraine, refugees arrive and wait for safe passage in Poland.