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Blinken Says NATO Can Send Fighter Jets to Ukraine - Russia Reports Near-total Destruction of Ukrainian Aircrafts - Russia Investigates Biological Weapons in Ukraine - Azov militants open fire at civilians, Killing Two
March 6 17:30 EST:
Russia Reports Near-total Destruction of Ukrainian Aircrafts
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed in an interview with CBS News that NATO member countries are free to supply fighter jets to Ukraine.
Blinken's remarks come after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky called for more lethal weapons assistance during a virtual meeting with US lawmakers on Saturday, while insisting that a "no-fly zone" be imposed over Ukraine.
However, Washington and NATO have ruled out a no-fly zone and have repeatedly stated that they would not send troops to Ukraine.
"That has a green light," Blinken said in response to whether the Polish government, a member of the Atlantic Alliance, could send fighter jets to Kiev, adding that Washington was already working with Polish officials to "meet their needs" if they chose to do so.
In addition, the diplomat assured that during the last few days, together with NATO allies and partners, the European Union and the G7, they have taken steps "to increase pressure on Russia through additional sanctions" that will be implemented in the near future.
For its part, Poland has denied media reports that it is considering sending its MiG-29 and Su-25 fighters to Ukraine in exchange for US F-16s.
March 6 16:00 EST:
Russia Reports Near-total Destruction of Ukrainian Aircrafts
The Russian Defence Ministry said on Sunday that most of Ukraine's combat-ready aviation was destroyed as part of Russia's special military operation in the country.
The Ministry has also informed neighbouring countries that the use of their airports for the stationing of Ukrainian aircraft is declared inadmissible.
"Between yesterday and today, the Ukrainian air force has lost 11 combat aircraft and two helicopters," said Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
The Russian Ministry also confirmed the destruction of the airfield in the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, in the centre-west of Ukraine. The attack was launched on 6 March with long-range weapons.
March 6 15:30 EST:
Russia Today Website reports DDoS Attacks
RT's Russian Website is facing facing DDoS attacks from abroad, the main source is coming from the U.S., reports Sputnik.
"The RT website in Russian is being under a massive DDoS attack from abroad. The main source is addresses in the US, on the second place are Russian ones, then there are the Netherlands, Britain, Ukraine, Sweden," the broadcaster said.
March 6 15:00 EST:
Russia Denouncees Biological Weapons in Ukraine
The Russian Defence Ministry said on Sunday that according to documents and assets found after the special military operation in defence of the Donbas, biological weapons components have been developed in Ukraine with funding from the United States (US).
This represents a violation by the US and Ukraine of article one of the UN Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons.
Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov stressed that the Kiev government had tried to get rid of the evidence by issuing an emergency destruction order on 24 February.
Konashenkov also stressed that Russia had received documentation that highly dangerous pathogens such as plague, anthrax, tularaemia, cholera and other deadly diseases were being worked on.
The Russian official added that his government plans to make public the analysis of these documents detailing the actions of Ukrainian laboratories funded by the Pentagon (US) in the vicinity of Russian territory.
However, Moscow on Sunday released several files confirming the destruction on 24 February and said the documents are still being analysed by experts in the Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defence Forces.
This is a flagrant violation by Washington and Kiev of article one of the UN Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons.
Kiev ordered the 'emergency destruction' of plague, anthrax and other pathogens at US-run Ukranian labs, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry https://t.co/9VBFIIq95n
Azov militants open fire at civilians, Killing Two
The head of Donetsk People's Militia, Eduard Basurin stated at a press conference that Azov militants (Ukrainian ultra-right-wing organisation) fired on a column of civilians trying to leave Mariupol along the "gum" corridor, two civilians were killed, four wounded.
Russian authorities accuse Ukraine of using deception to mislead the population about the evacuation.
The second attempt to evacuate the inhabitants of the city of Mariupol, has been interrupted, the Red Cross and the Russian Defence Ministry announced Sunday.
"Amid devastating scenes of human suffering in Mariupol, a second attempt to begin evacuating some 200,000 people from the city was disrupted today," the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement.
The Russian Defence Ministry for its part accused the Ukrainian side of misleading civilians about the evacuation process while pro-Nazi nationalists fired several shots towards the operation points.
March 6 13:00 EST:
U.S. expels Russian UN Permanent Mission Diplomats
Twelve diplomats from Russia's permanent mission to the UN, whom the US decided to expel, arrived at JFK airport with their families. About 50 people are travelling in two buses, accompanied by a police procession.
Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that it would respond to the expulsion of the diplomatic workers, reported Ria Novosti.
March 6 12:00 EST:
Evacuations in Mariupol and Volnovaja proceed with difficulty
The self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) evacuated more than 300 residents from the strategic port of Mariupol, which is under the control of the Ukrainian side, through humanitarian corridors, the territorial defence headquarters reported on Sunday.
The Mariupol authorities announced the start of the evacuation of civilians through humanitarian corridors, one day after the date agreed with Russia.
"Despite provocations of the Ukrainian nationalists in the direction of the humanitarian corridors, Donetsk evacuated more than 300 people from Mariupol and settlements of its suburban area to the Novoazovsky district," the DPR Territorial Defence headquarters reported.
The Russian Defence Ministry on Sunday confirmed the reopening of humanitarian corridors in the port of Mariupol and the town of Volnovaja, as well as the resumption of the ceasefire, despite the Ukrainian authorities' obstruction of the process.
In this regard, Ukraine refused to guarantee the ceasefire in the cities of Mariupol and Volnovaja, said Donetsk militia spokesman Eduard Basurin.
"The Ukrainian side refused to guarantee the regime of silence," Basurin told Rossiya 24.
Twenty-four hours ago, Russia announced a ceasefire from 07:00 GMT to allow civilians to leave the cities of Mariupol and Volnovaja. The Russian Defence Ministry stressed that the humanitarian corridors and routes were agreed with Ukraine.
The defence ministry later reported that due to Kiev's lack of interest in prolonging the ceasefire regime, Russia resumed its special operation in Ukraine as of 15:00 GMT on 5 March.
Basurin, deputy head of the DPR People's Militia Department, said a humanitarian evacuation corridor was opened to the east along the M23 Mariupol-Novoazovsk and Volnovaja-Rybinskoye roads.
Mariupol, known "as the capital of Steel" is located in eastern Ukraine on the banks of the Sea of Azov at the confluence of the Kalmius and Kalchyk rivers.