FirstFT: Ukraine accuses Russia of hospital bombing ‘atrocity’
Good morning. This article is an on-site version of our FirstFT newsletter. Sign up to our Asia, Europe/Africa or Americas edition to get it sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning
Ukraine has accused Russian forces of breaching a ceasefire and destroying a hospital in the besieged city of Mariupol, as aid agencies warned of a humanitarian disaster unfolding in the city.
Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, claimed that Moscow was responsible for an “atrocity”, writing on Twitter: “How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror?”
With the civilian death toll mounting, local authorities have resorted to digging a mass grave. The port city of 460,000 has been one of the hardest hit in a war that is raging with no end in sight. Track the latest troop movements using maps here.
Fighting around Chernobyl has also sparked concerns about spent nuclear fuel assemblies stored at the decommissioned facility — the site of the world’s worst nuclear power plant disaster in 1986.
Washington has abandoned efforts to supply Ukraine with Polish MiG-29 fighter jets after concluding that it could spark a dangerous escalation and draw Nato into conflict with Russia. Officials have estimated that Moscow will need 600,000 troops to control Ukraine.
Follow our live blog for more.
More on Ukraine
Five more stories in the news
1. IFS: Sunak needs £10bn to avoid public sector pay squeeze The UK chancellor will need to find an extra £10bn if workers are to avoid a pay squeeze in the year ahead, as inflation erodes the value of last autumn’s spending settlement for government departments, a think-tank has said.
2. Unilever chief executive’s pay jumps 42% The company handed Alan Jope a pay rise last year to almost £5mn after it exceeded growth targets, partly because of price rises on its products made in response to inflation.
3. Shackleton’s Endurance shipwreck found Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance has been discovered in deep water off the Antarctic coast more than a century after it was abandoned on his doomed expedition to traverse the continent via the South Pole.
4. Erdogan hails ‘turning point’ in Turkey-Israel relations The two nations will pursue greater trade and energy co-operation in the interest of regional peace, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after the first visit by an Israeli head of state in more than a decade.
5. Amazon announces $10bn share buyback The ecommerce giant has announced a 20-for-1 stock split and a share buyback of up to $10bn, in an effort to boost its stock price in the face of heavy operating costs and concerns over staff retention.
High levels of immunity and the Omicron variant’s reduced severity have made Covid-19 less lethal than influenza for most in England, FT analysis has found.
The head of carmaker Volkswagen has warned that a prolonged war in Ukraine risks being “very much worse” for European economies than the pandemic.
Austria has suspended its law requiring all adults to take a coronavirus vaccine.
The UK’s former counter-fraud minister has accused the government of “total naivety” in efforts to stop fraud in its Covid loan scheme.
Cathay Pacific’s chief executive said the airline expected to burn up to HK$1.5bn ($192mn) a month because of Hong Kong’s pandemic restrictions.
The day ahead
Turkey hosts Russia and Ukraine officials Russia’s Sergei Lavrov, Ukraine’s Dmytro Kuleba and Mevlut Cavusoglu and Turkey’s foreign minister will meet in the southern city of Antalya in the highest level contacts since the Ukraine invasion, but the sides are expected to remain far apart.
European Council summit French president Emmanuel Macron will host a gathering of EU leaders in Versailles for an informal summit. On the agenda is a wave of applications from former Soviet states to be fast-tracked into EU membership, a move that is unlikely to be fulfilled, a new growth and investment model and ways to reduce dependence on Russian energy.
ECB governing council meeting The European central bank is expected to downgrade its forecast for economic growth and raise its outlook on inflation when its main decision-making body gathers in Frankfurt to decide its next move on interest rates. (WSJ, FT)
Across the Atlantic: The US consumer-price index is expected to rise at the fastest level in 41 years in February, climbing 7.8 per cent from the year before, according to a survey of economists by Bloomberg.
Pop-up visa centre for Ukrainian refugees The UK Home Office will open the centre in Lille, northern France, with free transport offered from the port of Calais, 67 miles away, as Downing Street faces calls to soften its refugee policy. But applicants must still make an appointment in advance.
Join us at 1pm GMT for an hour of empowering talk about money with a panel of female experts convened by the FT and its new charity, the Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign (FT FLIC). We will share practical tips and answer your questions about the money issues that matter most to women. Register for free.
What else we’re reading
How Facebook’s crypto dream fell apart It had the blue-chip partners, the technology and the right players — none of which could save it. Take a look inside the most spectacular, if little noted, failure of Mark Zuckerberg’s career: the crumbling of his digital currency dream.
What Google knows about the future of war The world’s attention is focused on the tragedy of the physical war in Ukraine. But as Alphabet has noted, a second fight has long taken place in cyber space, where Ukrainians appear to have triumphed in a way that has astonished many outsiders.
My phone was controlling me, so I went on a digital diet For two weeks I tried to build a new, healthier relationship with technology, writes Madhumita Murgia, with mixed results.
Thanks to readers who took our poll. Thirty-seven per cent of respondents changed their career during the pandemic.
From a solar-powered villa on the edge of Lake Como to a Nassau beach house with its own rainwater treatment system, here are five exclusive homes for sale with sustainable features.
Thank you for reading and remember you can add FirstFT to myFT. You can also elect to receive a FirstFT push notification every morning on the app. Send your recommendations and feedback to email@example.com
Recommended newsletters for you
The Road to Recovery — Covid’s impact on the global economy, markets and business. Sign up here
The Week Ahead — Start every week with a preview of what’s on the agenda. Sign up here