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Russia invades Ukraine, NATO chief warns war could last years

World leaders have continued to condemn the ongoing violence in Ukraine as Russian forces ramp up their attacks in the east of the country.

As a result of the fighting, 10 evacuation corridors have been agreed for Thursday as civilians try to flee the violence, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced.

Here are the latest developments from the war in Ukraine:

Bucha curfew: Curfews have been announced in the vicinity of Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, due to looting, a senior Ukrainian official said Thursday, adding that the presence of mines and unexploded ordnance remained a problem in areas recently wrested from Russian control. Vadym Denysenko, adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, said more than 1,500 explosive devices were demined in the Kyiv region alone on Wednesday.

Missiles shot down near Zaporizhzhia: Ukraine says its anti-air defense shot down three cruise missiles near the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday night as the Russian military shifts its focus to the east of the country. A CNN team in the city heard what sounded like an aircraft and one loud explosion around 11 p.m. local time. It comes as the civilian evacuation of Zaporizhzhia has been stepped up after Russian forces occupied a nearby nuclear power plant last week.  

Refugees flee to Poland: More than 2.5 million refugees have crossed the border into Poland, the Polish Border Guard said Thursday. While it is unclear how many remain in the country, an interior ministry spokesperson told CNN that 700,000 Ukrainians had registered in a Polish database allowing refugees to take up employment or continue their education. More than 4.3 million people have now fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion started on February 24, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

EU sanctions: The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell has expressed his hope that the bloc’s fifth round of sanctions against Russia will be agreed by either Thursday or Friday. It comes after the EU announced proposed plans for a five-pillar package of sanctions, including a ban on Russian coal imports and a full transaction ban on four key Russian banks.

Global condemnation: Australia unveiled new sanctions on 67 Russian officials on Thursday as world leaders continue to condemn the violence in Ukraine. On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden declared “major war crimes” were being discovered as the White House announced new sanctions on Russia’s largest financial institutions and a number of individuals tied to the Kremlin. It comes as the UK’s top diplomat told NATO foreign ministers that the “age of engagement with Russia is over.” 

NATO warning: Despite Russia focusing its attentions to the east, NATO’s chief warned the war could stretch on for years, as Russian President Vladimir Putin wants “to control the whole of Ukraine.” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also said NATO will “address the need for more air defense systems, anti-tank weapons, lighter but also heavier weapons, and many different types of support to Ukraine.”

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