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On day 10 of the invasion, people hoping to escape besieged cities in Ukraine were forced back to shelters after plans for a brief truce went awry.

The BBC’s Joel Gunter says Russian forces continued to shell the city of Mariupol on Saturday, despite agreeing to a ceasefire just hours earlier – throwing an attempted mass evacuation of civilians into chaos.

“I’m right now in Mariupol, I’m on the street, I can hear shelling every three to five minutes,” said Alexander, a 44-year-old engineer and resident of the city.

The green corridor set up to get people out was not working, he said.

“I can see cars of people who tried to flee, and they are coming back. It is chaos.”

Three hours after the ceasefire was supposed to begin, at 09:00 (07:00 GMT), Mariupol authorities announced they had postponed a planned mass evacuation because of the continued bombardment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described sanctions imposed by Western nations over his invasion of Ukraine as “akin to a declaration of war”.

“But thank God it has not come to that,” he added.

Mr Putin also warned that any attempt to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be seen as participation in the armed conflict.

And he rejected suggestions that he would introduce a state of emergency or martial law in Russia.

Mr Putin made the remarks while speaking to a group of flight attendants at an Aeroflot training centre near Moscow.

Russia’s tactic: Meet resistance with more firepower

For one seasoned BBC correspondent, Russian tactics in Ukraine bring to mind other wars not so long ago.

The BBC’s Jeremy Bowen, who covered the first Chechen war in 1994-95, says it could get much worse – that “Russia answers resistance with firepower”.

Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, has already felt the effects. So has Mariupol and other cities in the east.

“Russia’s invasion has once again been slowed by logistical bottlenecks, tactical mistakes and terrified teenagers who had not been told they were going to war – as well as resistance as fierce as anything the Chechens offered in 1995,” he writes.

Kevin Connolly, who was a correspondent for the BBC in Moscow in the 1990s, is also reflecting on history. He says there are moments when the tectonic plates of history shift beneath our feet and Europe is violently remade.

It is time to recognise that we are at such a moment, he adds. But drawing the right lessons from those big moments when everything changes is not easy.

Thousands march in Kherson against occupiers

In the Black Sea port of Kherson, the first Ukrainian city to fall to the Russians, protests against the occupiers have broken out.

About 2,000 people marched through the city centre, waving flags and singing the Ukrainian national anthem. They shouted patriotic slogans including “Russians go home” and “Kherson is Ukraine”.

Kherson, a key port on the Black Sea and the Dnieper River, fell to Russian troops earlier this week.

Videos of the protest on social media show Russian troops firing into the air to deter the approaching crowd.

One local resident, Yevhen, told the BBC the protest was a march for freedom and Ukrainian independence.

Ukrainian civilians, assisted by the country’s military, are evacuating the small city of Irpin, which sits just 20km (12 miles) north-west of Kyiv.

The route is a difficult one, with many having to travel by foot along shelled roads and damaged bridges.

Artillery and air strikes have caused severe damage in the area, with at least one attack leaving a residential tower block almost completely destroyed.

Zara, Paypal and Samsung are the latest international firms to suspend trading in Russia after it invaded Ukraine.

Zara’s owner, Inditex, will shut all 502 stores of its eight brands, which also include Bershka, Stradivarius and Oysho, from Sunday.

Payment giant Paypal cited “violent military aggression in Ukraine” as the reason to shut down its services.

Samsung – Russia’s top supplier of smartphones – is suspending shipments over “geopolitical developments”. Other global brands, including Apple, H&M and Ikea, have already stopped selling in Russia.

The clothes store closures are expected to hit more than 9,000 of Inditex’s employees who work in Russia.

The Spanish-owned business told the BBC it was drawing up a plan to support them.

Source: BBC

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