White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Putin’s decision to put nuclear forces in a state of higher readiness is part of a pattern of “manufactured threats”
Psaki on Sunday told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week,” that Putin’s decision was a way for him to further justify his attack on Ukraine.
“This is really a pattern that we’ve seen from President Putin through the course of this conflict, which is manufacturing threats that don’t exist in order to justify further aggression. And the global community and the American people should look at it through that prism. We’ve seen him do this time and time again,” Psaki said.
Earlier on Sunday, Putin put his nuclear force on high alert, meaning they will be prepared for the increased possibility of launch. Putin claimed that the move was in response to statements from countries that are a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and other western nations.
US embassies in Russia and Ukraine issue messages warning Americans to ‘depart now’
The US embassies in Russia and in Ukraine issued warnings to Americans on Sunday, directing them to “depart now.”
The US Embassy in Ukraine urged people to leave using “privately available transportation options if it is safe,” noting that in many cases, “Ukraine’s roads are in many cases crowded, exposed to combat operations, and infrastructure such as bridges in some locations has been destroyed.”
The embassy recommended people traveling on land go to Hungary, Romania, or Slovakia, because those countries had shorter wait times for entry than Poland.
“We understand that most border crossings into Poland and all main crossing points into Moldova are severely backed up and some are experiencing extremely long wait times (well over 30 hours in some cases),” the embassy said.
The US Embassy in Russia also urged any Americans there on Sunday to leave “immediately,” citing an “increasing number of airlines” that have canceled flights in and out of Russia and “numerous countries” that have banned Russian airlines.
Both Ukraine and Russia carry the US State Department’s most serious “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warning.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko says the city is ‘encircled’ by Russian forces
In an interview with the Associated Press, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that officials would be unable to evacuate civilians in the city if it is breached by Russian forces.
“We can’t do that, because all ways are blocked,” he told the AP in an interview published Sunday. “Right now we are encircled.”
Nine civilians in Kyiv, including a child, have so far been killed, Klitschko told the AP.
“We are at the border of a humanitarian catastrophe,” he said. “Right now, we have electricity, right now we have water and heating in our houses. But the infrastructure is destroyed to deliver the food and medication.”
Japan joins the EU, Canada, US, and UK in banning Russian access to SWIFT global banking services
Japan is joining the rest of the G7 in blocking Russian access to SWIFT, an international banking system.
Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Sunday that the country will band with the European Union, Canada, the UK, and the US in removing Russian banks from its SWIFT, or Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication services.
Kishida added that said Japan will also place further sanctions on Russian officials and send $100 million in emergency humanitarian aid funding to Ukraine. And with Japan’s participation, the full G7 is now onboard with the SWIFT ban.
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World’s largest cargo aircraft was destroyed during a Russian attack on an airfield, Ukrainian minister says
The world’s largest cargo aircraft, the An-225 Mriya, has been destroyed during a Russian attack, according to Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs, Dmytro Kuleba.
Kuleba tweeted on Sunday: “Russia may have destroyed our ‘Mriya’. But they will never be able to destroy our dream of a strong, free and democratic European state.”
“We shall prevail!” he added.
The plane was based at the Antonov Airport – also known as Hostomel Airport – according to Scottish publication The Herald. The paper reported Thursday that the airfield was struck by missiles prior to the attack.
Ukrainian ambassador says Zelensky is ‘as safe as our country’
Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova on Sunday said she believed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “as safe” as the rest of the country during the Russian invasion.
“He is as safe as our country, and that’s the choice he made to stay in Kyiv, and in Ukraine, and lead the nation in this very difficult moment,” Markarova said during an appearance Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week.”
In a video posted Saturday morning local time, Zelensky said: “I am here. We are not putting down arms. We will be defending our country, because our weapon is truth, and our truth is that this is our land, our country, our children, and we will defend all of this.”
Ukraine and Russia set to hold negotiations at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border, Zelensky’s office announced
Ukraine and Russia are set to hold negotiations at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border, the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a statement on Sunday, according to the BBC.
During a phone call with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Zelensky agreed that a Ukrainian delegation would meet with President Putin’s representatives without preconditions.
The meeting is set to take place on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River, the statement said.
“Alexander Lukashenko will ensure all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on Belarusian territory remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation’s travel, talks, and return,” the statement added.
Neither Russia nor Belarus have issued any statements about potential talks.
Putin orders Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces on high alert in response to ‘illegitimate Western sanctions’
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday ordered Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces to be on alert amid his ongoing attack on Ukraine.
Putin blamed the move on statements from member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and on statements from western nations.
“Dear colleagues, as you see, Western countries are not only taking hostile actions toward our country in the economic sphere—I am talking about the illegitimate sanctions everybody knows about,” Putin said in a statement translated to English.
Ukraine files a lawsuit against Russia at the International Court of Justice in the Hague
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the country has filed a lawsuit against Russia at the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
“Russia must be held accountable for manipulating the notion of genocide to justify aggression,” he tweeted Sunday, adding that the country expects trials to start “next week.”
The International Court of Justice, located in The Netherlands, is the main judicial organ of the United Nations.
1.4 million civilians in Ukraine’s second-largest city, have been told to take shelter as Russian troops arrive
The 1.4 million residents in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, have been urged to shelter indoors after government officials said Russian troops had arrived.
In a statement on Sunday morning, Kharkiv’s governor Oleg Sinegubov told people not to leave their homes after a “breakthrough of light equipment of the Russian enemy” reached the central part of the city.
Russian troops blew up a nine-story residential block overnight, killing one elderly woman, the BBC reported, citing emergency services.
Russian forces also blew up a major gas pipeline in the city, which the Ukrainian government said could result in an “environmental catastrophe,” the Associated Press reported.
Kremlin website was down
The official website of the Kremlin, kremlin.ru, was down on Saturday, Reuters reported.
The outage came after Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said the country will create an “IT army” to fight against Russia’s digital intrusions.
In a tweet that linked to a channel on the Telegram messaging app, which published a list of prominent Russian websites, Fedorov said: “We are creating an IT army. There will be tasks for everyone. We continue to fight on the cyber front. The first task is on the channel for cyber specialists.”
President Zelensky appeals for foreign volunteers to come to Ukraine and enlist in a ‘International Legion’
Ukraine is establishing an International Legion for foreigners who want to come and fight against Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday.
“Anyone who wants to join the defense of Ukraine, Europe and the world can come and fight side by side with the Ukrainians against the Russian war criminals,” the statement on the presidential website said.
Zelensky called for international solidarity against Russia and said in the statement that Russia’s invasion was “the beginning of a war against Europe.”
Ukrainian border guards who told Russian warship ‘go fuck yourself’ may still be alive
A group of 13 Ukrainian border guards who were thought to have been killed while defending an island from a Russian warship may still be alive, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (SBGSU) said in a statement on Saturday.
“We [have a] strong belief that all Ukrainian defenders of Zmiinyi (Snake) Island may be alive,” the border agency said.
“Preliminary information that border guards may be dead came before the defenders lost contact,” it added.
The statement comes two days after reports said that 13 border guards on Zmiinyi Island had died when they refused to surrender to a Russian warship, telling it “go fuck yourself” per an audio recording.
Russian forces blew up a gas pipeline in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv
Ukrainian President Zelensky’s office said Russian forces blew up a gas pipeline in Kharkiv, the Associated Press reported.
Residents were advised to cover their windows with damp cloth or gauze and the Ukrainian government warned that smoke from the explosion in the country’s second-largest city could result in an “environmental catastrophe,” the AP reported.
There are at least 240 civilian casualties so far, according to the UN
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that there have been at least 240 civilian casualties, including at least 64 deaths in Ukraine, since the start of Russia’s invasion.
Hundreds of homes have also been damaged, and the damage to infrastructure has left thousands without power or water, the OHCHR reported.
French President Emmanuel Macron called on Belarus to order Russian troops to leave
In a call on Saturday, French President Emmanuel Macron asked Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, to demand Russian troops be withdrawn from Belarusian soil, a statement from Macron’s office said.
Belarus is a neighbor to Ukraine and one of multiple entry points Russia used to invade the country.
Macron denounced “the seriousness of a decision that would authorize Russia to deploy nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil” and told Lukashenko that Belarus should “refuse to be Russia’s vassal and de facto accomplice in the war against Ukraine.”
Western nations agree to cut ‘selected Russian banks’ from the SWIFT global banking system
The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Canada struck an agreement Saturday evening to remove certain Russian banks from SWIFT.
SWIFT is a payment system that is crucial for global financial communication. Removing Russia from the system could be economically devastating for the nation.
In a joint statement, the US and its counterparts declared that the move would help “collectively ensure that this war is a strategic failure for Putin.”
“As Russian forces unleash their assault on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, we are resolved to continue imposing costs on Russia that will further isolate Russia from the international financial system and our economies,” the statement said.
Germany to send anti-tank weapons and missiles to Ukraine in a major policy reversal
Germany is planning to send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine, according to a statement made by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday.
“The Russian attack marks a turning point,” Scholz wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “It is our duty to do our best to help Ukraine defend against the invading army of Putin. That’s why we’re supplying 1000 anti-tank weapons and 500 stinger missiles to our friends in Ukraine.”
The announcement marks a significant shift of Germany’s restrictive arms export policy. The country has previously said it held “historical responsibilities” that prevented it from sending weapons and arms to conflict areas, often citing guilt for crimes committed against the Soviet Union during World War II.
Russian forces are ‘frustrated’ with lack of progress, US official says
According to a Reuters report, the US official, who was not named by the outlet, said Russian forces had not planned to bring enough fuel or for other basic logistics.
“We know that they have not made the progress that they have wanted to make, particularly in the north. They have been frustrated by what they have seen is a very determined resistance,” the official told Reuters, adding: “It has slowed them down.”
An unnamed US official told Fox News: “We continue to believe, based on what we’ve observed, that this resistance is greater than what the Russians expected.”
The British Defense Ministry on Saturday made similar claims, saying: “The speed of the Russian advance has temporarily slowed likely as a result of acute logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance,” according to the Associated Press.
Zelensky called on ‘every friend of Ukraine’ to ‘please come over’ and help defend against Russian invasion
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday remained defiant in the face of Russia’s invasion, confirming that government forces continued to control Kyiv and “key points around the city.”
“Please stop those who are lying, or trying to lie to you, or lying to us. We need to stop this war,” he said during a morning briefing, The Guardian reported, lambasting disinformation about the state of the country. “We can live in peace together, globally, as humans.”
He continued: “Our military, our national guard, our national police, our territory defense, special service, nationals of Ukraine, please carry on. We will win. Glory to Ukraine.”
Biden’s administration is reportedly working to set up a hotline with Russia to avoid an unintended clash between their military forces in Eastern Europe
Sources told NBC News that the United States is working to set up backchannel communications with the Russian military to prevent a clash between the two forces near Ukraine’s border.
The hotline would help both parties to avoid clashing as US forces are operating near Eastern Europe, according to the report.
The open line of communication would also help US and Russian aircraft and ships remain in different areas and communicate the risk of missile strikes. However, it is not yet clear if Russia will subscribe to the potential plan.
Mayor of Kyiv sets curfew amid battle to hold capital, says anyone on the street after curfew will be considered an enemy
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko on Saturday announced a curfew from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. to ensure a “more effective defense of the capital” and its residents, according to reports.
“This curfew is introduced until the morning of February 28,” Klitschko said in the translated announcement. “All civilians who will be on the street during the curfew will be considered members of the enemy’s sabotage and reconnaissance groups.”
—Alex Ward (@alexbward) February 26, 2022
The mayor added: “Please treat the situation with understanding and do not go outside.”
Ukrainian President Zelensky says Ukraine ‘survived’ the night
Ukraine has “survived” the night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a briefing on Saturday morning.
“And we are successfully fighting off the enemy attacks,” he added, per The Kyiv Independent.
He said that government forces still control Kyiv and “key points around the city,” The Guardian reported.
Ukrainian President Zelensky addressed false information that circulated online claiming he called on residents to lay down arms
In a video posted early Saturday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky can be seen in front of the House with Chimaeras in Kyiv.
—Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 26, 2022
Zelensky addressed misinformation that was circulating online and reiterated that he was not standing down.
“Ukrainians, it has now come to our attention that a lot of fake information has been circulating about me allegedly calling to our armed forces to lay down their arms, and talks of de-evacuation. Let’s get things straight. We are here, we are not laying down any arms, we are going to defend our nation.” Zelensky said.
He added: “This is because our weapons are our truth, and our truth lies in the fact that this is our land, this is our country, our children, and we are going to defend all of this. So this is what I want to tell you. Glory to Ukraine!”
Officials in Kyiv are telling residents to seek shelter as street fights break out against Russian forces
The Associated Press reported that on Saturday morning, Russian troops headed toward Kyiv as explosions could be heard across the city.
Officials in the Ukrainian capital warned residents to stay away from windows and take shelter indoors as fighting escalated on the streets.
‘The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,’ Ukrainian President Zelensky said following an offer to evacuate
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky refused an offer from the US to evacuate the Ukrainian capital, a senior American intelligence official with direct knowledge of the conversation told the Associated Press.
“The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,” Zelensky said in response to the offer, the official said, describing Zelensky as “upbeat,” according to the AP.
The US Embassy in Kyiv issued a travel advisory warning US citizens remaining in the city to “know your closest shelter”
The US Embassy in Kyiv issued a new travel advisory for US citizens remaining in Kyiv early Saturday morning.
As Russian forces intensify their attacks against the capital city, the embassy warned US citizens to exercise increased caution due to the possibility of active combat, crime, and civil unrest.
“The security situation throughout Ukraine is highly volatile, and conditions may deteriorate without warning,” the statement said. “US citizens should remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.”
The advisory urged US citizens to know the location of “your closest shelter or protected space,” and seek shelter immediately in “the event of mortar and/or rocket fire.”
“If you feel your current location is no longer safe, you should carefully assess the potential risks involved in moving to a different location,” the advisory said.
US government prepared to evacuate President Zelensky, according to The Washington Post
The US government is ready to help Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky flee Kyiv, but the president is so far refusing to leave, according to The Washington Post.
US and Ukrainian officials told the outlet that preparations have been made to help Zelensky avoid being captured or killed as Russian forces descended upon the capital city early Saturday morning.
Amid increasing Russian attacks on Friday, Zelensky promised to remain at the head of Ukraine’s government in Kyiv, despite the danger.
“According to the information we have, the enemy has marked me as target No. 1, my family as target No.2,” he said in an address. “They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state.”
Insider has reached out to the White House and the State Department for comment.
A senior US official told The Post that US officials in recent days have talked to Zelensky about multiple security issues, including the safest place for the president to remain to maintain the Ukrainian government.
“We have been making him aware not only of the threat of Russian invasion, now a reality, but also the threat to him personally,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told The Post. “We stand ready to assist him in any way.”
New explosions heard in Kyiv as Russian forces attack the city
More than four dozen explosions were heard early Saturday morning in Kyiv as Russian troops intensified their attacks on the capital city, according to The Washington Post.
Thirty minutes of ongoing shelling could be heard as the Ukrainian military fought off Russian assaults in northern Kyiv, the Kyiv Independent reported.
The State Special Communications Service instructed people to seek shelter following more than 50 shots fired in a suburb near the city’s center.
CNN reported that heavy fighting is being reported south of Kyiv as well.
—The Recount (@therecount) February 26, 2022
Ukraine’s president warns that Russia will try to ‘break our resistance’ and topple the government before the night is over
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday night that the future of his country “is being decided right now,” a warning that comes amid reports that Russian troops are approaching Kyiv from multiple directions.
“Tonight the enemy will use all the resources they have to break our resistance in a mean, cruel, and inhuman way,” Zelensky said in a message to his nation, according to a translation of his remarks. “Tonight they will assault us.”
He added that many Ukrainian cities remain under attack.
“Burn down the enemy’s military vehicles, using anything—anything—you can. If even the kindergartens are an admissible target for the invaders, you must not leave them any chance,” he said.
Russia vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution calling on Moscow to stop Ukrainian assault
Russia vetoed on Friday a United Nations Security Council draft resolution that called on Moscow to withdraw its troops and halt the attack on Ukraine.
Eleven countries on the council voted in favor, while three abstained.
The countries that voted in favor of the resolution were:
- United States
- United Kingdom
Russia voted no.
The countries that abstained from voting were:
- United Arab Emirates
The Biden administration is seeking $6.4 billion for Ukraine aid from Congress
The White House on Friday asked Congress for an estimated $6.4 billion in additional spending to aid Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion, according to Bloomberg.
The outlet reported that $2.9 billion of the requested funds would go to humanitarian and security needs in Ukraine, the Baltics, and Poland, including food aid, refugee assistance, and energy stabilization.
The remaining $3.5 billion would help the US Department of Defense respond to the conflict, a Biden administration official told Bloomberg.
The funds could be included in a broad government spending package Congress is aiming to pass by mid-March. The
The requested money is on top of $650 million in security aid and $52 million in humanitarian aid that the US promised Ukraine last year.
Spy chief humiliated by Putin on Russian TV for stammering releases new video echoing Putin’s war rhetoric
Just days after being humiliated in a broadcast meeting by Vladimir Putin, the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, Sergei Naryshkin, returned to the screen to reiterate war rhetoric.
“Russia cannot allow Ukraine to become a dagger raised above us in the hands of Washington,” Naryshkin said in a video on state television, according to the New York Times. “The special military operation will restore peace in Ukraine within a short amount of time and prevent a potential larger conflict in Europe.”
Biden is planning to announce new sanctions that personally target Putin, report says
US President Joe Biden is planning to announce as soon as Friday that the US will sanction Russian President Vladimir Putin, CNN reported, a provocative move of condemnation against one of the world’s most powerful leaders.
The move would come after the US, in coordination with its partners and allies, slapped two rounds of sanctions on Russia following its military assault on Ukraine earlier this week.
Biden’s reported decision to sanction Putin personally is a rare step and follows the European Union and the UK announcing sanctions against the Russian leader.
A California professor says he spotted Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Google Maps hours before Putin announced the attack
A California professor and arms control expert says he noticed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Google Maps in real time hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the attack in a televised address.
Jeffrey Lewis, a nonproliferation professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, had been monitoring Google Maps with a small team of research assistants and graduate students when they spotted a “traffic jam” on a road from Belgorod, Russia, to the Ukrainian border at around 3:15 a.m. local time in the Russian city on Thursday.
Lewis told Insider on Friday that the “unusual” early morning backup started exactly where a radar image taken a day earlier showed a newly arrived “large Russian military unit with a lot of armor,” such as tanks and armored personnel carriers.
“What was important about that image is that they were not set up in a camp — they were lined up in columns along roads, which is what you do when you’re about to pounce,” Lewis said.
The daughter of Putin’s spokesman publicly opposed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, undermining her dad
The daughter of President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman posted an anti-war slogan in her Instagram Live on Friday, according to multiple reports.
Elizaveta Peskova, 24, posted “HET BOЙHE” — “no to war,” against a black background on her Instagram story according to a screenshot tweeted by the Russian outlet TV Rain.
This slogan is the main chant used by Russian protesters to oppose the invasions of Ukraine.
Video reportedly shows Ukrainian men helping themselves to guns on a Kyiv street after all 18-60 years were urged to take up arms and fight the Russian invasion
The video, which was shared on Twitter by Illia Ponomarenko, the defense correspondent at the Kyiv Independent, appears to shows civilians on a suburban street in a Kyiv suburb rummaging through boxes of firearms unloaded from trucks, as a voice off-camera says “Slava Ukraini!” (Glory to Ukraine!).
“Firearms are delivered to anyone willing,” Ponomarenko said in the tweet of the video.
Ukraine’s president posts defiant video with top government leaders saying ‘we are all here’ in the streets of besieged Kyiv
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a defiant video on Friday, purportedly from streets of besieged Kyiv, with top government leaders.
“We are all here,” he said in a video posted to his Facebook page with the words: “We’re in here. We are in Kiev. We defend Ukraine.”
Zelensky said he was with Ukraine’s prime minister, presidential advisor, and head of the president’s office.
“Our military are here, our citizens and society are here. We are all here defending our independence, our state, and this is how it’s going to be,” he said.
Russia says it will partially restrict access to Facebook, accusing it of censorship and human rights violations
Russia said Friday that it would partially limit access to Facebook within its borders over what it alleges is censorship of four state news outlets.
In its announcement, the country’s communications regulator said it asked Facebook earlier in the week to remove the restrictions and explain its reasoning for them but did not hear back.
It also accused the company of various other undetailed human rights and freedoms abuses.
Ban children of Russian oligarchs from elite British schools, UK MPs urge after invasion of Ukraine
Boris Johnson should ban the children of Russian oligarchs from enjoying the benefits of elite British schools, Conservative MPs have said.
The prime minister is coming under increasing pressure to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine by targeting its super-rich, many of whom have interests in the UK and mingle with its high society.
The 5,000 helmets Germany offered Ukraine are finally on their way as it faces a Russian onslaught from 3 sides
The 5,000 helmets Germany offered to Ukraine are finally on their way as the country faces Russian attacks from 3 sides.
Over a month after Germany’s secretary of defense promised the equipment, two trucks are bound for a handoff just outside Ukraine, according to German media company Der Spiegel.
Russia’s advance on Kyiv hit more resistance and is moving slower than expected, US defense official says
Russia appears to have “lost a bit of momentum” as they continue their invasion of Ukraine, a senior US defense official told reporters on Friday.
The official said Russian forces are “not moving on Kyiv as fast as they anticipated they would be able to” and are “meeting more resistance than they expected,” CNN reported.
European Union freezes assets of Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov, Latvia’s foreign minister says
The European Union on Friday approved freezing the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Latvia’s foreign minister said.
“EU Foreign Affairs Council has adopted the 2nd sanctions package, asset freeze includes President of Russia and its Foreign Minister. We will prepare the 3d package,” Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said on Twitter.
A Russian tennis star protested the war in Ukraine in a twist of a traditional celebration in the sport
Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev has a message for the world — and maybe one directed at his own country.
“No war please.”
On Friday, the 24-year-old Moscow native called for peace after besting Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz for a spot in the Dubai Tennis Championships title match.
As is a popular tennis tradition, Rublev wrote a note on the TV camera lens following his victory.
Instead of signing his name or sketching a cheeky doodle — as is the norm in the sport — the world No. 7 penned a serious message for all to see: “No war please.”
Ukraine praises marine for sacrificing his life to blow up bridge to try to choke off Russian tanks
Officials in Ukraine praised a marine for sacrificing his life to blow up a bridge to try to stop Russian tanks from advancing.
Vitaliy Skakun Volodymyrovych was positioned at the Henichesk bridge in the Kherson region during a standoff with Russian forces, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a Friday statement.
In an effort to fight off advancing Russian tanks, Ukrainian forces decided to blow up the bridge, the statement said.
“According to his brothers in arms, Vitaly got in touch [with them] and said he was going to blow up the bridge,” the statement said. “Immediately after, an explosion rang out.”
Volodymyrovych died immediately, the statement said.
Ordinary Ukrainian citizens are taking up arms to fend off Russian forces as they close in on Kyiv
Ordinary citizens all over Kyiv are taking up arms in the fight against Russian forces as they close in on the capital city following two days of heavy attacks and hundreds of casualties.
As Russian forces started making their way toward Kyiv, the Ukrainian government called on all citizens and “patriots” to take up arms in defense of the country, saying that only an ID was required and adding, “We give weapons to all patriots!”
“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a tweet. “Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities.”
People in Kyiv describe bombardment on night 2 of invasion as Russia closes in on the capital
Kyiv was rocked by shelling for the second straight day on Friday morning, with Russian forces entering the outskirts of the capital by the afternoon.
Speaking from Kyiv by phone on Friday, five residents told Insider of multiple explosions overnight, interspersed with air raid sirens directing people to find safety in bunkers.
Alisa Obraztsova, 25, said she was rocked away by explosions at 4:20 a.m.
“I slept in the guest room in my apartment because I could hear the sirens from that room better,” she said.
Oleksii, a Kyiv resident who asked to be identified only by his first name, told Insider he was also startled awake by bombs.
“I woke up at around 4 a.m. because there was a massive explosion,” he said. “I looked out the window, everything was a bright orange, everything was getting brighter.”
Zelensky told European leaders, “This might be the last time you see me alive,” report says
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday told European leaders on a conference call that it “might be the last time you see me alive” as the Russian military pushes ahead with its offensive in his country.
Zelensky on Thursday said in a video address he would remain in Kyiv and would keep his family in Ukraine.
Zelensky added that “the enemy marked me as the number one target,” with his family being number two.
Zelensky asks Putin to ‘sit down at the negotiating table’ to ‘stop the dying’ as Russian forces strike Kyiv
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for negotiations to “stop the dying” as Russian forces strike the country’s capital city of Kyiv.
Zelensky added: “I want to turn again to the president of the Russian Federation… Fighting is taking place across the entire territory of Ukraine.”
Ukraine urges Kyiv residents to ‘make Molotov cocktails’ as Russia advances and even shows people how to make them
Ukraine’s defense ministry called on residents of Kyiv to “make Molotov cocktails” as Russian forces advanced on the capital city on Friday.
Ukraine’s defense ministry tweeted a message calling attention to reconnaissance and sabotage units in the district of Obolon, asking citizens to report military vehicle movements, and even make Molotov cocktails.
“Make Molotov cocktails, neutralize the occupier!” the ministry tweet said, adding that peaceful residents should be careful and should not leave the house.
Recap: Ukraine says 137 people died on Thursday alone. The death toll has since risen.
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky said that 137 people, including 10 military officers, had been killed and 316 were wounded on Thursday.
He did not say how many were civilians, but Ukrainian officials have confirmed that civilians were killed.
There were more deaths reported on Friday, though the exact number is not clear.
Zelensky said that “people died” in heavy fighting on Friday, but did not say now many or what country they were from.
One of Zelensky’s advisors said that around 400 Russian soldiers had died as of Friday, the Associated Press reported. Russia has not given a death toll.
Russian foreign minister says his country will talk to Ukraine once it stops fighting, doubles down on claim it wants ‘de-Nazification’
Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Russia will only talk to Ukraine if its troops stop fighting, adding: “We do not want Neo-Nazis to rule Ukraine.”
He was repeating Russia’s baseless claim that its attack on Ukraine was motivated by Nazism in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s president is a Jewish man whose native language is Russian. He came into office after a democratic election.
Russia has previously tried to justify its attack by claiming it wanted to prevent a “genocide” in Ukraine and to achieve the “de-Nazification” of the country.
Kyiv mayor and former heavyweight boxing champion says he’ll fight for Ukraine
Ukrainian boxing icons Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko said they would take up arms to defend Ukraine against Russia.
Vitali, who has also been the mayor of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, since 2014, said he was ready to fight in a “bloody war.”
“I don’t have another choice, I have to do that. I’ll be fighting,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Friday. “I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people.”
Wladimir wrote in a LinkedIn post on Thursday: “Democracy cannot defend itself; it needs the will of the citizens, the commitment of everyone.”
“Here, we will defend ourselves with all our might and fight for freedom and democracy. You can also act. Let not fear seize us; let’s not remain frozen.”
Ukraine has been ‘left alone’ to defend itself from Russia, president says
Volodomyr Zelensky said in an early Friday speech that Ukraine was not getting help on the ground, saying: “We are left alone in defense of our state.”
“Who is ready to fight with us? Honestly — I do not see such. Who is ready to guarantee Ukraine’s accession to NATO? Honestly, everyone is afraid.”
Many nations have condemned Russia and sent weapons to Ukraine. But they have not sent troops, and NATO and the US have said they won’t do so.
Zelensky also praised the people of Ukraine in his speech, saying: “You are brilliantly defending the country from one of the most powerful countries in the world.”
Ukraine posts instructions for making Molotov cocktails and asks people who own drones for help
The post below, from Ukraine’s national guard, contained instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails to use against Russian troops.
—НГУ (@ng_ukraine) February 25, 2022
Ukraine’s military also posted a Facebook callout on Friday asking for drone owners to help out.
“Do you know how to drive a drone? Join the joint patrol with units 112 of the separate brigade of the city of Kyiv!” it said.
Russia ‘failed to deliver’ its day-one aims for invading Ukraine, UK defense secretary says
Ben Wallace told Sky News on Friday: “Our assessment, as of this morning, is that Russia has not taken any of its major objectives,”
“In fact it’s behind its hoped-for timetable. They’ve lost over 450 personnel.”
“The Russian army has failed to deliver on day one its main objective.”
He gave the example that Russian special forces had failed to secure a “significant” airport that was once again under Ukrainian control.
Ukrainian leaders compare Russia’s attack on Kyiv to Nazi Germany’s assault in 1941
Russia’s attack on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv has prompted comparisons to Nazi Germany’s assault on the city in 1941.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invoked World War II while speaking directly to the Russian people in a speech Friday morning as explosions were reported over Kyiv.
“Tonight, you began bombing residential areas in the hero city of Kyiv. This is like 1941. I want to tell all Russian citizens who are coming out to protest: we hear you, you heard us, you started to believe us. Fight for us. Fight the war,” Zelensky said.
Russia’s richest 22 billionaires lost $39 billion in one day after the invasion of Ukraine
The wealth wipeout came after Moscow’s benchmark MOEX Russia Index crashed and closed 33% lower on Thursday.
The Russian billionaires lost more money on Thursday than they had lost year-to-date up until Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.
Mitch McConnell has urged Biden to ‘ratchet the sanctions all the way up’ against Russia
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday advised President Joe Biden to hold nothing back when imposing sanctions on Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Ratchet the sanctions all the way up. Don’t hold any back,” he added. “Every single available tough sanction should be employed and should be employed now.”
Large explosions heard in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city
Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, was awakened by explosions in the early hours of Friday morning local time, CNN reported.
“Strikes on Kyiv with cruise or ballistic missiles continued,” Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ukraine, told CNN Thursday.
The outlet also reported multiple bombardments — two blasts in Kyiv and an explosion in the distance.
Ukraine is crowdfunding to shore up its defenses against the Russian military
Ukraine is crowdfunding to bolster its armed forces against the Russian invasion.
In a tweet on Thursday, the official Twitter account of Ukraine called for donations and provided a link to the country’s official website.
Collected funds will be used for the “logistical and medical support” of the Ukrainian armed forces, said the webpage, which is operated by Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ukrainian Institution.
The Biden administration is considering training Ukrainian soldiers in an outside country, according to Axios
As Russian forces enclose on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, the Biden administration is eyeing its next steps in the ongoing conflict.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told House lawmakers on Thursday that the US government is considering possible ways to train Ukrainian troops outside of Ukraine, should Russia seize control of the country, according to Axios.
Austin reportedly told lawmakers that officials are trying to find ways to provide more defense equipment, including ammunition to Ukrainian forces — a feat made more challenging as Russian forces assault the country.
The secretary also told House members that the Biden administration will continue to support Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government as long as it is “viable,” the outlet reported.
Ukrainian president announces general mobilization of all conscripts and reservists to last 90 days
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday ordered a general military mobilization throughout the country as Russia continues its large-scale military assault in Ukraine.
The declaration ordered the conscription of conscripts and reservists for military service, as well as their delivery to military units and institutions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to “ensure the defense of the state.”
The mobilization, which included all of Ukraine’s major cities, will be carried out within 90 days, the decree said. It will provide personnel, vehicles, infrastructure, and land use for the Ukrainian government and military amid Russia’s ongoing invasion, according to the decree.
Ukraine has also banned all male citizens ages 18-60 from leaving the country, according to CNN, which cited the State Border Guard Service.
Zelensky says ‘enemy sabotage groups have entered Kyiv’ and that he is ‘number one target’
In his second video address on Thursday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said that “enemy sabotage groups” entered Kyiv, and that he plans to remain, despite being Russia’s “number one target.”
“According to preliminary data, unfortunately, we have lost 137 of our heroes today — our citizens. Ten of them are officers,” Zelensky said in his address. “316 are wounded.”
He also used the opportunity to dispel rumors that he had fled Kyiv, and that his family had left the country.
“I stay in the capital, I stay with my people. During the day, I held dozens of international talks, directly managed our country. And I will stay in the capital,” he said. “My family is also in Ukraine. My children are also in Ukraine. My family is not traitors. They are the citizens of Ukraine. But I have no right to say where they are now.”
White House is ‘outraged’ over reports that staff at Chernobyl have been taken hostage by Russian forces
Press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is outraged over reports from Ukrainian officials that staff at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine have been taken hostage by Russian troops.
Russian forces took over the remnants of Chernobyl earlier on Thursday during the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The move indicated Russia is likely to assault Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv, which is located just south of Chernobyl, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history.
“We’re outraged by credible reports that Russian soldiers are currently holding the staff of the Chernobyl facility hostage,” Psaki said during a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, adding “we condemn it and we request their release.”
Psaki said the situation at Chernobyl was not clear but that the hostage taking was “incredibly alarming and greatly concerning,” adding it could hurt efforts to maintain the facility, which is dangerously contaminated with radioactivity as a result of the 1986 nuclear disaster.
US secretary of state is ‘convinced’ Russia will try to overthrow the Ukrainian government
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said he is “convinced” Moscow will try to overthrow Ukraine’s government.
“You don’t need intelligence to tell you that that’s exactly what President Putin wants. He has made clear he’d like to reconstitute the Soviet Empire, short of that he’d like to reassert a sphere of influence around the neighboring countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc,” Blinken said during a national TV interview.
The secretary pledged that NATO would intervene before Putin successfully accomplished his ultimate goal.
“Now, when it comes to a threat beyond Ukraine’s borders. There’s something very powerful standing in his way. That’s article five of NATO, an attack on one is an attack on all,” the top diplomat said.
Expert says Russia’s Ukraine invasion will result in ‘horrific scenes,’ could be launch of ‘Cold War 2.0’
A former aide to President Barack Obama is warning that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a “game changer” in international relations that will result in “horrific scenes” in the coming days, with President Vladimir Putin intent on pursuing regime change at all costs.
“I think it’s just a matter of time before Kyiv falls,” Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who also served on the National Security Council in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, told Insider.
The White House says it’s ready to accept Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion
The US is prepared to accept Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN.
“We are,” Psaki said when asked whether the US was ready to assist fleeing Ukrainians. “But we certainly expect that most if not the majority will want to go to Europe and neighboring countries. So, we are also working with European countries on what the needs are, where there is capacity. Poland, for example, where we are seeing an increasing flow of refugees over the last 24 hours.”
She added that US officials have been engaging with Europeans on the matter “for some time.”
Ukrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield just outside Kyiv
Ukrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city.
Russian forces attacked and seized Hostomel (Gostomel) airfield, a cargo airport near Kyiv that is also known as Antonov airport, early Thursday, according to AFP. Ukraine’s leadership reportedly vowed to take it back.
“The enemy paratroopers in Hostomel have been blocked, and troops have received an order to destroy them,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address.
Ukraine’s health minister says dozens killed and over 160 injured
Ukraine’s health minister said 57 Ukrainians have been killed and 169 were wounded after Russia attacked on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.
Explosions, gunfire, and sirens were reportedly heard in Kyiv on Thursday.
Witnesses also described missile blasts in other cities, including Kramatorsk, Dnipro, and Odesa, reports said.
Ukrainians and Russians are packing ATM lines, prompting fears of what happened in the US during the Great Depression
Many Ukrainians who haven’t already fled the country as Russia’s threat turned into invasion stood in long lines outside of banks and ATMs hoping to take out their funds, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Meanwhile in Russia, people are also queuing outside of ATMs trying to get US dollars as its citizens worry their own currency’s value will continue to tank, according to the Wall Street Journal. Banks in the capital city of Moscow are running out of money, MSNBC reported.
All of this has led to fears of bank runs, which is when people withdraw money en masse because they worry banks will cease to function. That’s what happened in the United States during the Great Depression, and it triggered mass unemployment and loan scarcities.
A top Russian business lobbyist pleaded with Putin to ‘demonstrate as much as possible’ that Russia wants to remain ‘part of the global economy’
The head of one of Russia’s biggest business groups urged President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to avoid severe economic pain and remain “part of the global economy” as NATO members ready a harsher salvo of sanctions.
Putin held a televised meeting with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs just hours after Russian forces began attacks in Ukraine.
The threat of new sanctions was enough for Alexander Shokhin, the business group’s president, to raise concerns with Putin about remaining a member of the world economy.
The lobbyist urged the president to pad against major economic pain and to ensure conflict in Ukraine doesn’t fuel widespread harm to the global financial system.
“Everything should be done to demonstrate as much as possible that Russia remains part of the global economy and will not provoke, including through some kind of response measures, global negative phenomena on world markets,” Shokhin said.
Biden says he’ll try to limit what Americans pay at the gas pump as the US slaps Russia with more sanctions: ‘This is critical to me’
President Joe Biden sought to quell fears of another spike in gas prices on Thursday after Russia unleashed a military assault on Ukraine that threatened to upend the global economy.
The threat of war in Ukraine in recent weeks has contributed to spiking oil prices, with the benchmark Brent crude oil hitting $100 for the first time since 2014 Wednesday night amid the early stages of Russia’s invasion.
“I know this is hard and Americans are already hurting,” he said at a White House address. “I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump.”
He opened the door to another release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a step the Biden administration also took in November to try and provide relief at the pump.
Biden says Putin’s Ukraine invasion will cause a ‘complete rupture’ in US-Russia relations
President Joe Biden on Thursday said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine will cause a “complete rupture” of US-Russia relations if it continues.
Biden condemned Putin and his escalating invasion of Ukraine in a speech from the White House.
Biden, who met with G7 members on Thursday morning, also announced a raft of new sanctions against Russia on Thursday.
“What’s the risk that we are watching the beginning of another Cold War, and is there now a complete rupture in US-Russian relations?,” a reporter asked Biden following his address.
Famed Russian rapper cancels concerts in protest, saying he can’t perform while ‘Russian missiles fall on Ukraine’
A prominent Russian rapper canceled his concert in protest of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, saying he can’t perform while “Russian missiles fall on Ukraine.”
Rapper Oxxxymiron announced via a video posted to his Instagram account that he is postponing “six of my major gigs in Moscow and Saint Petersburg indefinitely,” because he said he is “specifically against the war Russia has escalated against the people of Ukraine.”
“I’m sure you can understand me; I can’t entertain you while Russian missiles fall on Ukraine, while Kyiv residents are forced to hide in the basements and subway, and while people are dying,” he said.
US Treasury targets Belarusian support for Russian invasion of Ukraine
In addition to the second round of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US Thursday, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it is sanctioning 24 Belarusian individuals for their support of the Russian invasion.
The sanctions target Belarus’s defense sector and financial institutions — two sectors closely tied to Russia.
Massive protests erupted in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg as Russians voice opposition to war in Ukraine
Massive protests erupted on Thursday in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg, as people voiced their opposition to the invasion of Ukraine.
Videos posted to Twitter show a sea of people gathered in a section of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, chanting and holding signs to object to Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.
Russian government forces have threatened to arrest anti-war protesters, who took to the streets after Putin announced military action against Ukraine on Thursday.
Biden slaps ‘additional strong sanctions’ on Russia as it mounts a large-scale attack on Ukraine
President Joe Biden on Thursday announced that the US will impose a second, harsher round of sanctions on Russia following its large-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Biden announced that he had authorized “additional strong sanctions” and “new limitations” on what can be exported to Russia.
“We have purposely designed these sanctions to maximize the long term impact on Russia and minimize the impact on the United States and our allies,” Biden said.
“We will limit Russia’s ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen to be part of the global economy,” the president said of the sanctions. “We’re going to stop the ability to finance and grow the Russian military. We’re going to impair their ability to compete in a high-tech 21st-century economy.”
A Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears and begged the world to ‘save our people’ from being ‘murdered’ by Russian forces
A Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears during an interview with CBS News and begged the international community to “save our people” from being “murdered” by Russian forces.
“I beg you, please save our people. Dozens of people — maybe hundreds of people — might be murdered tonight,” Member of Parliament Halyna Yanchenko said as she sobbed during an interview with CBS News on Thursday.
She added: “Please save Ukrainian men, women, and children.”
Photos show Ukrainian families fleeing the Russian invasion amid warnings of a mass refugee crisis
Ukrainian residents fled their homes after the first day of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
Train stations were packed with people on the move and roads filled with cars of people leaving the country, with their loved ones and prized possessions in tow.
Before the invasion took place, there were warnings of a mass refugee crisis.
Russian government websites — including ones for the Kremlin and the legislature — went dark after cyberattacks target Ukraine
Multiple Russian government websites reportedly went down on Thursday after the country launched an attack on Ukraine.
NetBlocks, which tracks disruptions and shutdowns, confirmed on Twitter that multiple sites went offline shortly after 8:45 p.m. local time in Moscow.
The Kremlin‘s website and that of the Russian Federal Assembly’s lower house — or State Duma — were both down for at least 15 minutes. As of 9 p.m. local time, the State Duma website was since restored.
Shortly after 9:10 p.m. local time, the Kremlin’s website was also back online.
Putin had a range of ways to attack Ukraine. He went with the worst-case scenario for the West.
In the build-up to Russia’s assault on Ukraine, analysts and leaders envisioned numerous ways the conflict might play out, from a limited incursion to an all-out invasion.
Putin used precision missile strikes and airstrikes, followed shortly later by ground maneuvers, the officials said.
All three lines of attack — as per this analysis in The Conversation — had previously been floated as individual possibilities for an invasion.
Defense analysts warned that Russia’s multipronged attack was full-scale but still in an early phase, with a lot more forces to push into Ukraine to seize key areas or capture its leadership.
Putin’s overall endgame remains an area of pressing debate.
Key Democratic congressman says the US can’t send support to Ukraine quickly enough ‘to repel’ Russia’s invasion
Rep. Adam Smith, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, ruled out surging supplies into Ukraine as a last-ditch effort to stall Russia’s invasion, arguing it’s unlikely such support would arrive quickly enough to make a difference.
“The odd of us being able to do that in a rapid enough fashion to be able to repel the invasion are remote,” Smith told CNN on Thursday when asked about a Ukrainian official’s request for more equipment. “I don’t think it’s realistic to think that we can reinforce them enough in the short term to be able to repel the invasion.”
Poland, Czech Republic, and Sweden are refusing to play their 2022 World Cup qualifying matches in Russia after it attacked Ukraine
Poland, Czech Republic, and Sweden said they are refusing to play their upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifying playoff matches in Russia after it attacked Ukraine on Thursday.
Based on the latest Russian aggression against Ukraine, “the signatories to this appeal do not consider travelling to Russia and playing football matches there,” the three countries said in a joint statement addressed to FIFA’s General Secretary Fatma Samoura.
The statement continued: “The military escalation that we are observing entails serious consequences and considerably lower safety for our national football teams and official delegations.”
Russia’s moving on Kyiv and the plan appears to be to take out Ukraine’s leadership, US defense official warns
Russian forces invaded Ukraine Thursday morning, and a senior US defense official says they are moving on Kyiv, likely to topple the country’s government and install their own.
“We would describe what you are seeing as an initial phase” of a “large-scale invasion,” the official said, according to The Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe.
UK plots far harsher sanctions on Russia to punish it for invading Ukraine
The UK announced a new set of harsher sanctions on Russia after the country invaded Ukraine early Thursday.
A spokesman for the UK government told journalists at a briefing that the UK plans to impose a second round of sanctions.
The most intense of the new list of sanctions is an asset freeze on all major Russian banks and an asset freeze against VTB — the second largest bank with assets totaling £154 billion.
The UK also plans to sanction another 100 individuals and entities.
This is a large step up from the sanctions it announced Wednesday, which were limited to five smaller banks, three individuals close to Putin, and politicians in Russia who voted for military action.
Russia has begun arresting anti-war protesters as demonstrations break out after Putin invades Ukraine
The Russian government on Thursday threatened anti-war protesters demonstrating against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, warning they could face arrest for organizing.
And according to a protest monitoring group, the detentions have already begun as small protests have broken out in some Russian cities.
Russia’s Investigative Committee warned citizens in a statement not to take part in the “unauthorized” protests “associated with the tense foreign political situation.”
The committee said that people should be aware of the “negative legal consequences of these actions,” which it said includes criminal liability.
Ukraine’s official Twitter is using memes to rip into Putin’s bogus comparison between it and Nazi Germany
After Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the marching orders for an attack on Ukraine early Thursday morning, Ukraine’s official Twitter account got busy.
One photo showed what appeared to be caricature images of Adolf Hitler tending to a small Putin.
“This is not a ‘meme’, but our and your reality right now,” Ukraine said in a follow-up tweet.
The account also called for a so-called “Twitter-storm” at 12 p.m. local time in Kyiv on Thursday, urging people to use various hashtags to “tell the world of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine and the fact that Ukraine is under attack.”
Ukraine’s latest post said to “Tag @Russia and tell them what you think about them,” racking up tens of thousands of likes and quote tweets.
A heartbreaking photo shows a woman and her baby fleeing Kyiv in a bus as Russia invades Ukraine
A photo shows a woman and her baby fleeing Kyiv on a packed bus as Russia invades Ukraine.
After Russia launched attacks across Ukraine Thursday, residents tried to quickly flee cities across the country.
Residents shared photos of major traffic jams, packed busses, and subway stations being used as bomb shelters.
Russian troops reportedly attack through Chernobyl fallout zone, risking Western efforts to contain one of the world’s most radioactive sites
Russian troops are reportedly rolling through a protective zone surrounding the remnants of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, a move that signals the likelihood of trying to assault Kyiv and that risks decades of united efforts to contain one of history’s worst nuclear disasters.
“Russian occupation forces are trying to seize the #Chornobyl_NPP,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Twitter early Thursday. “Our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated.”
Crowds of Ukrainian people are hiding from airstrikes in subway station
Footage from CNN on Thursday showed a packed subway station in Kharkiv, Ukraine, as people sought shelter from Russian airstrikes.
CNN Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward could be seen on-air walking through the densely packed station in the northeastern Ukrainian city, located just 25 miles from Russia’s border.
“Yesterday this would have been full of commuters making their way back and forth to work,” Ward said in a clip of a broadcast posted to Twitter. “Today, it has become an impromptu bomb shelter.”
Moscow theater director calls Putin a ‘killer’ and resigns in protest over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
The director of a state-run theater in Moscow on Thursday publicly called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer” as she announced that she was stepping down from her post in protest over Russia’s wide-ranging attack on Ukraine.
“Friends, in protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I am resigning,” Elena Kovalskaya, the director of the Meyerhold Center theater, posted on Facebook.
Kovalskaya added, “You can’t work for a killer and get paid by him.”
Thousands of Ukrainian refugees have fled to Moldova, where the government has set up tents and vowed to keep its borders open to help
Thousands of Ukrainian refugees have fled to Moldova, where the government set up tents and vowed to keep its borders open to help.
“First [Ukrainian] citizens arrive in [Moldova], with over 4000 crossings today,” Moldova’s President Maia Sandu wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
She added: “The [government] has deployed temporary placement centers near Palanca and Ocnița. Our borders are open for [Ukrainian] citizens who need safe transit or stay.”
Citizens fleeing Kyiv said traffic jams were “something I haven’t seen before”
Nikita Gunkewitsch, resident of Kyiv, who is fleeing by car told Insider that fleeing Ukraine’s capital city took a long time because of the traffic jams.
“We heard siren sounds in the morning here in Kiev. Right away we packed and left the city with my girlfriend. Took a while since the traffic jams were something I haven’t seen before,” Gunkewitsch said.
He also posted a video to Twitter showing tanks driving alongside cars on the roads.
“I could hear some bombings and smoke in the distance. I saw fighter jets flying super close to building and on the streets are tanks and military vehicles all the time”
He continued: “All in all we are positive. We are listing to reggae music and driving to the border. We will be alright.”
—Nikita Gunkewitsch (@mrmoonshark) February 24, 2022
Much of Kyiv is closed after Russian invasion of Ukraine Thursday
Contributing photographer Alan Chin told Insider that much of downtown Kyiv is closed as citizens shelter after a Russian invasion on Thursday.
“There are long lines at ATMs. Downtown, most businesses are closed, but pharmacies remained open,” he said.
Chin reported that the last bus leaving Kyiv was full and that the station is now closed. As Russian forces attacked overnight, residents flocked to the train station for protection.
“An announcer urged calm,” Chin said. “There were no trains heading east; according to what was posted on the board, trains to the west were still running.”
Eyewitnesses in Ukraine describe the moment they awoke in a war zone as Russian forces bombed the cities where they live
Several eyewitnesses told Insider this was their first realization that a full-scale invasion was underway.
“I woke up at five in the morning to the sounds of the blasts,” said Ivanna Klympush, an MP with the European Solidarity party, speaking to Insider from her home in Kyiv. “We all did.”
Ex-NATO commander thinks Russian forces will try to capture Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
A former NATO commander and retired US Navy admiral said that he believes Russian forces will try to capture Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky amid Russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine.
“I think he’s gonna go full-bore, get to Kyiv, try and capture Zelensky,” former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Admiral James Stavridis told NBC’s “Today” show of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He added that the United States must assist in helping Zelensky to”figure out a way for him to have a government in exile, arm a Ukrainian resistance.”
Russia attacked Ukraine just one week after its foreign ministry made jokes about the West’s warning of an imminent invasion
Russia’s attack on Ukraine early Thursday morning came nearly a week after its foreign ministry cracked jokes at the West for warning of an imminent invasion.
“Today we mark another day of the ‘start of war with Ukraine,’ which did not happen again, to the Western media outlets’ regret, no matter how hard they whip up the hysteria,” Russia’s foreign ministry wrote on Twitter on February 16.
Ukrainian presidential advisor says ‘the West must act today’
A Ukrainian presidential advisor called on the West to swiftly take action to punish Russia on Thursday after Moscow launched a military attack on Ukraine.
“Russia is attacking not just Ukraine, but all the rules of normal life in the modern world,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN.
Podolyak said that a “full-fledged large-scale war has begun in Europe” after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine from multiple directions early Thursday.
He added, “But Ukraine needs more support from the world and is very specific — military-technical and financial support, tough sanctions against Russia. The West must act today.”
Ukraine reports deaths of at least eight civilians, 40 Ukrainian soldiers, and 50 Russian soldiers
At least eight Ukrainian civilians were killed and nine were wounded by Russian shelling, a Ukrainian internal affairs ministry advisor said, according to Reuters.
NATO head calls Russia’s actions a ‘brutal act of war’
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg described Russia’s attack on Ukraine as a “brutal act of war” in a Thursday statement.
He called it a “deliberate, cold-blooded and long-planned invasion” and a “blatant violation of international law.”
“Peace on our continent has been shattered. We now have war in Europe on a scale and a type that we thought belonged to history,” he said. “This is a grave moment for the security of Europe.”
He said member countries would meet on Friday to discuss their response.
Ukraine cuts diplomatic relations with Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that Ukraine was severing diplomatic ties with Russia.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry confirmed the decision, saying: “Our country took this step in response to acts of military aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, the invasion of Russian Armed Forces to destroy the Ukrainian state and the seizure by force of Ukrainian territories with the intent of establishing occupation control.”
It added that it was evacuating its embassy in Moscow and recalling its chargé d’affaires in Russia.
Ukraine says Russia is attacking from multiple directions
Ukraine’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that Russia was attacking multiple Ukrainian cities “from different directions.”
“This is an act of war, an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, a brutal violation of the UN Charter, basic norms and principles of the international law,” it said.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, also called the Russian attack a “full-scale invasion of Ukraine.”
Oil surges to $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014
Benchmark Brent crude oil futures breached $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014 on Thursday.
Russia is one of the world’s biggest oil and gas exporters, which means Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the ensuing global response could disrupt the world’s supply.
Russia currently supplies around 40% of the EU’s natural gas supply, and threats to the supply could cause prices to rise.
China told citizens in Ukraine to display the Chinese flag on their cars if they have to go outside
China’s embassy in Ukraine advised Chinese nationals in the country to “stay at home” or to “affix the Chinese flag at a prominent spot on your car” if they have to go outside.
The notice did not tell Chinese citizens to evacuate the country, as other countries have.
The advisory comes as a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson refused to describe Russia’s attack as an “invasion,” and a state-owned media outlet appeared to leak a memo instructing journalists not to publish anything “not positive to Russia or positive to the West.”
UK says it is preparing harsher sanctions
The UK said it were preparing harsher sanctions against Russia on Thursday, just after unveiling a “first tranche” on Tuesday.
Steve Barclay, the chief of staff to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said on Thursday that Johnson will outline “overwhelming sanctions” later on Thursday.
Its first round of sanctions included five Russian banks and three Russian individuals.
Trump mistakenly thought US troops had landed in Ukraine
After former President Donald Trump was cut off during a call-in interview on Fox News Thursday night, he returned to the airwaves shortly afterward with a gaffe about the US military.
“You know what’s also very dangerous is you told me about the amphibious attack by Americans,” Trump mistakenly said on “The Ingraham Angle.”
“You shouldn’t be saying that, because you and everybody else shouldn’t know about,” Trump continued. “They should do that secretly, not be doing that through the great Laura Ingraham.”
“No, those are the Russians,” Ingraham replied.
Ukraine’s president told his country that ‘the army is doing its work’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday urged his fellow citizens to stay calm as Russia launched attacks on the country.
“Stay calm, stay at home, the army is doing its work,” he said during an address to the country early Thursday.
“Don’t panic. We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will defeat everyone. Because we are Ukraine,” he added.
Ukraine’s UN ambassador was consoled by other representatives after Russia’s assault was announced
Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United Nations, was consoled by fellow UN representatives on Wednesday after Russia’s surprise announcement that it had launched a military assault on his country.
Kyslytsya is seen seated behind US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield as she places a hand on his shoulder while the UK’s representative, Dame Barbara Woodward, turns to face them.
Putin announced attacks against Ukraine on Thursday in the same suit as his Monday speech, prompting speculation his war declaration was pre-taped
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attire during his Wednesday night war declaration suggests his speech may have been pre-taped.
Putin late on Wednesday said he decided to launch a “special military action” against Ukraine, in a video that aired early Thursday morning in Russia.
But during a televised address on Monday, Putin appeared to wear the same outfit as he denounced Ukraine’s sovereignty, argued that Ukraine was a creation of the Soviet Union, and announced military intervention in eastern Ukraine.
Both videos were filmed with Putin apparently sitting in the same spot, at the same table, wearing the same outfit: A black blazer with a white dress shirt and a maroon tie.
A CNN reporter in Kyiv paused during his live report to put on a flak jacket after hearing explosions near the Ukrainian capital
CNN reporter Matthew Chance abruptly paused his live reporting from Kyiv to put on a flak jacket on-air after hearing explosions in the Ukrainian capital, blasts that came as Russia launched a major attack against Ukraine.
“I just heard a big bang right here behind me,” he said, adding that “there are big explosions taking place in Kyiv right now.”
He said that before tonight, the city has been “absolutely silent.” As the explosions went off, Chance grabbed a flak jacket and put it on live on-air.
Russia’s diplomat was in charge of the UN Security Council meeting as Putin announced an invasion of Ukraine
As Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an attack on Ukraine, his ambassador to the United Nations was in charge of the UN Security Council meeting late Wednesday night.
As the Security Council discussed ways to avoid a war, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military offensive against Ukraine in a video that aired early on Thursday morning in Russia.
Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia faced off with Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya, in a tense exchange amid the emergency meeting in New York.
Trump falsely blames Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on ‘rigged election’ in the US before Fox News cut him off
Former President Donald Trump called into Fox News late Wednesday night only to be cut off once he brought up his 2020 election lies.
Laura Ingraham was asking Trump about “a lot of weakness in the United States” and where NATO stands as Russia mounts an invasion of Ukraine.
Trump quickly pivoted to reiterating his lies about voter fraud in the 2020 election.
“I think you’re exactly right, I think that’s what happened,” Trump said.
“He was going to be satisfied with a peace, and now he sees the weakness and the incompetence and the stupidity of this administration, and as an American, I’m angry about it, and I’m saddened by it,” he continued. “And it all happened because of a rigged election. This would have never happened.”
Ukraine rips into Russia at the UN, saying war criminals ‘go straight to hell’
Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, delivered a speech on Wednesday condemning Russia for launching a military operation against his country.
In comments directed to the Russian ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, at an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting, Kyslytsya said, “About 48 minutes ago, your president declared war on Ukraine.”
The Ukrainian ambassador said that if Russia’s representative could not answer in the affirmative, he should step down from his leadership position.
“There is no purgatory for war criminals,” Kyslytsya said to the Russian ambassador at the end of the meeting. “They go straight to hell”
Russia attacks Ukraine, launching a new war in Europe for the first time in years
Russian forces attacked Ukraine early Thursday morning, launching an offensive that threatens to kill thousands of people, force millions more to flee, and destabilize much of Europe, with the consequences certain to reverberate across the world.
Blasts were heard from Kyiv, the capital, to the eastern city of Kharkiv — missile strikes, the Ukrainian interior ministry told CNN — with reports of outgoing artillery fire from Russian forces across the border.
Biden says Putin launched a ‘premeditated war’ on Ukraine that will result in ‘catastrophic loss of life and human suffering’
US President Joe Biden released a statement late Wednesday saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a “premeditated war” against Ukraine.
The statement came after Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine, with reports of explosions and flares coming minutes afterwards, including in Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv.
“The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces,” Biden said in his statement.
“Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring,” the statement said. “The world will hold Russia accountable.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin announces military assault against Ukraine in surprise speech
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military offensive against Ukraine in a video that aired early on Thursday morning in Russia.
Putin said Russia had decided to launch a “special military action” against Ukraine, with reports of explosions and flares coming minutes later in Ukraine. The state-run Russian RIA news agency said the offensive would begin in the Donbas area of eastern Ukraine, also claiming that Putin does not have plans to occupy Ukraine.
Russia for months denied plans to invade Ukraine, even as it amassed tens of thousands of troops along the border.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began Monday has sent shockwaves through Europe and the wider world, while threatening to destabilize the surrounding region and rock global markets.
UN chief issues desperate plea to Putin on Ukraine: ‘Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died’
UN Chief António Gutteres made a desperate plea to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday night during an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting regarding Russia’s invasion into Ukraine.
“If indeed an operation is being prepared, I have only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart: President Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine,” Gutteres said. “Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.”
The meeting had been requested by Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba hours earlier.
During the UNSC meeting, Putin declared a “special military operation” in Donbas, scaling up his country’s military invasion into Ukraine.
Sen. Marco Rubio says the Russian invasion of Ukraine is “now underway”
Sen. Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said late Wednesday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is already underway.
The Florida lawmaker tweeted that Russia will make a series of military moves “in the hours to come.”
Rubio said Russia would soon:
- Conduct strikes on air defense systems
- Move to cut off Kyiv from eastern Ukraine
- Move to cut off Ukraine’s military forces on the line of contact in the east to prevent them from falling back to defend Kyiv
Politico reporter Alex Ward retweeted the senator, saying a senior Democratic aide confirmed that Rubio’s outline is “consistent” with US intelligence on the matter.
Earlier Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that a full-scale attack on Ukraine could begin tonight.
Ukraine’s parliament passed a law allowing citizens to carry firearms, and a local NGO official said ‘there’s a feeling that Ukrainians will fight’
The Ukrainian parliament passed a law on Wednesday, which allows citizens to carry firearms in public, alongside the enactment of a state of emergency, after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to eastern Ukraine on Monday.
Previously, Ukrainian citizens were barred from carrying guns outside of their homes.
“Now it’s the intention of the parliament is to liberalize ownership of armaments by citizens,” Dmytro Shulga, the European Programme Director at the International Renaissance Foundation, an NGO in Kyiv, told Insider. “And I think that this is very popular news now.”
Ukraine claims Russia may be planning a false-flag ‘terrorist attack’ at chemical plant in Crimea
Ukraine’s military intelligence unit claimed Wednesday that employees had been evacuated from a chemicals plant in Russian-occupied Crimea ahead of a possible “terrorist attack” that would be falsely blamed on Kyiv.
In a post on Facebook, the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine said it had collected intelligence showing that “all employees” had been forced to leave the Titan chemicals plant in Armiansk, Crimea. The purpose, the post said, might be to accuse Ukraine of carrying out an attack on the facility — providing a justification for war.
“We officially declare that Ukraine has not planned and does not plan any act of sabotage at this facility,” the post said.
Russia has more than 150,000 troops stationed along Ukraine’s borders, with Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country on Wednesday formally requesting military intervention. The US and other allies of Ukraine have repeatedly accused of Russia of planning “false flag” attacks in order to portray an invasion as defensive in nature.
Ukraine’s Zelensky appeals directly to Russian citizens for peace after he was met with ‘silence’ when he tried to call Putin
In a somber early-morning speech from Kyiv, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed directly to the Russian people, pleading for peace amid rising fears of an imminent invasion.
“The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace,” Zelensky said in a video address. “But if we come under attack that threaten our freedom and lives of our people we will fight back.”
Zelensky also said that he tried to call Russian President Vladimir Putin late Wednesday but said he was met with “silence.”
Kremlin-backed rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine formally ask Putin for military forces to fight Ukraine
The Kremlin on Wednesday said Moscow-backed rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine have asked Russia for military assistance to fight off Ukrainian “aggression,” just hours after Ukraine declared a nationwide state of emergency amid rising fears of an imminent Russian invasion.
The move comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday recognized the independence of two Kremlin-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, the self-described “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk, reversing Russia’s years-long stance on the region and marking a possible lead-up to a major offensive.
On Tuesday, Russian lawmakers granted Putin powers to use military force outside of the country.
In letters reportedly sent to Putin and published by the Russian-state TASS news agency, the Russia-backed rebel leaders requested Russian intervention in an effort to “avoid civilian casualties and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.”
Ukraine’s foreign minister told the UN a full-blown war with Russia would be ‘end of the world order’
Ukraine’s foreign minister told the United Nations on Wednesday that a full-blown war with Russia would spell the “end of the world order.”
“The beginning of a large-scale war in Ukraine will be the end of the world order as we know it,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the UN General Assembly in New York and later shared on Ukraine’s government website.
Kuleba urged the UN and international community to impose “swift, concrete, and resolute actions” as a response to the latest Russian aggression.
US warned Ukraine of new intelligence suggesting Russia is about to attack
The US has issued a warning to Ukraine that new intelligence suggests Russia is about to launch a major assault as its forces take up positions inside rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine, according to reports from CNN and Newsweek.
Ukrainian officials were told Tuesday morning local Kyiv time that it’s highly likely Russia will begin an invasion in the next 48 hours, according to the Newsweek report.
Ukraine’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that there are no plans to evacuate the city of Kharkiv, which US officials have warned is at particular risk in an assault.
China accuses US of ‘creating panic’ with sanctions against Russia
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters during a press conference that the “US has been sending weapons to Ukraine, heightening tensions, creating panic and even hyping up the possibility of warfare.”
“A key question here is what role the US — the culprit of current tensions surrounding Ukraine — has played,” Chunying said. “If someone keeps pouring oil on the flame while accusing others of not doing their best to put out the fire, such kind of behavior is clearly irresponsible and immoral.”
She added: “We consistently oppose all illegal unilateral sanctions.”
The European Union adopted new sanctions against Russian elites and lawmakers
The European Union announced new sanctions against Russia on Wednesday targeting hundreds of Russian lawmakers, dozens of “high profile individuals,” and financial restrictions.
The sanctions zero in on 351 Russian lawmakers and 27 “high profile individuals and entities,” the EU said in a statement.
Restrictive measures include freezing assets and banning any of the sanctioned elites from entering or traveling through EU territory.
Russian government threatens ‘painful’ response to US over sanctions
The Russian government warned on Wednesday of a “strong” and “painful” response to the United States over the Biden administration’s sanctions against the country over its invasion of Ukraine, according to multiple reports.
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Russia will target “sensitive” US assets as retaliation.
The ministry said in a statement that the US sanctions against it are part of America’s “ongoing attempts to change Russia’s course,” CNN reported.
Ukrainian government websites crashed in suspected cyberattack
A suspected cyberattack shut down a handful of Ukraine’s government websites on Wednesday.
As of 6 p.m. local time, all three websites seemed to have been restored.
The government was also hit last month by a cyberattack, which a top Ukrainian security official blamed on Russia.
Ukraine will declare a state of emergency, top security official says
Ukraine’s top security official said that a 30-day state of emergency will be declared on Wednesday.
Oleksiy Danilov said the state of emergency “can include restrictions on movement of transportation, additional inspections of transportation. This can include inspections of individuals’ documents,” the Financial Times reported.
The parliament is expected to announce its decision on Wednesday. It comes after a recommendation by the country’s security council.
Ukrainian parliament approves redistributing funds from any part of the budget for national security and defense
Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted to allow the redistribution of funds from any part of the state budget for national security and defense within three months.
—Верховна Рада України (@verkhovna_rada) February 23, 2022
Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko confirmed the move in a tweet, saying all factions of the parliamentary body voted.
The EU reportedly plans to sanction Putin’s right-hand man and a notorious Russian troll farm
The EU is expected to announce sanctions against Russia later on Wednesday.
Diplomats told The Wall Street Journal the bloc plans to sanction Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the Internet Research Agency, a notorious Russian troll farm.
The Internet Research Agency helped to spread online misinformation about the 2016 US presidential election, and it was charged by the special counsel Robert Mueller’s office with conspiring to interfere in the election.
China says sanctions over Ukraine are ineffective as Russia brushes them off
China said it won’t be joining the raft of countries sanctioning Russia.
Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, said Wednesday: “The position of the Chinese government is that we believe that sanctions have never been a fundamental and effective way to solve problems, and China always opposes any illegal unilateral sanctions.”
Russia also downplayed sanctions from Western countries.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the BBC: “Ukraine crisis or no Ukraine crisis, the West would have imposed more sanctions on Russia anyway to restrain our country.”
Russia’s embassy in London also claimed the UK’s sanctions were “illegal in terms of international law” and blamed “anti-Russian hysteria in the British media.”
Ukraine orders conscription of reserve troops
Ukraine’s armed forces said on Wednesday President Volodymyr Zelensky had signed a decree ordering the country’s military reserves.
It called up reservists aged 18 to 60, and said they would serve up to a year.
Zelensky said on Tuesday that he was calling up the country’s military reserves, but stopped short of a general mobilization, Reuters reported.
Zelensky said the government would work to “raise the preparedness of the Ukrainian army to all possible changes in the operational situation.”
Ukraine’s foreign minister calls for more sanctions against Russia
The US and UK announced harsh economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, and EU countries agreed on imposing a first round of sanctions.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, tweeted Wednesday: “To stop Putin from further aggression, we call on partners to impose more sanctions on Russia now. First decisive steps were taken yesterday, and we are grateful for them.
“Now the pressure needs to step up to stop Putin. Hit his economy and cronies. Hit more. Hit hard. Hit now.”Read Full Story
A bipartisan group of 43 lawmakers urges President Biden to get congressional approval before sending troops into Ukraine
Forty-three lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have signed a letter urging President Joe Biden to obtain approval from Congress before sending US troops to intervene in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The letter, dated Tuesday, was signed by both progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush and Trump-allied GOP representatives, including Matt Gaetz and Paul Gosar. The letter calls for Biden to abide by the Constitution and seek congressional authorization before having US troops “engage in hostilities.”
“We strongly urge your administration to respect the separation of powers, US law, and Congress’s constitutional war powers authority,” the letter read.
Ukraine’s Western neighbors are preparing for millions of possible refugees if Russia attacks
Central Europe is bracing for a possible migrant crisis as Ukraine’s Western neighbors make preparations to welcome millions of refugees in the event of a large-scale Russian invasion into Ukraine.
Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic have all signaled that they are planning for a surge of incoming Ukrainians as the threat of a Russian attack looms large.
The United Nation’s refugee agency told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that it has not yet seen increasing numbers of fleeing Ukrainians, but called the ongoing situation “highly volatile.” Some estimates suggest as many as five million people could be displaced in a worst-case scenario, the outlet reported.
Video from Eastern Ukraine this week showed thousands of residents in the region evacuating to Russia over fears of impending war.
Biden warns Russia that the US will ‘defend every inch of NATO territory’ and says he is moving US troops into the Baltics
President Joe Biden warned Russia that the US and its allies will “defend every inch of NATO territory” during an address on Russia’s recent actions toward Ukraine.
He also announced that some US forces will be headed to the Baltic states to bolster NATO positions in the east.
The president said Russia had effectively announced it was “carving out a big chunk of Ukraine” when it recognized two territories in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine — Donetsk and Luhansk — as independent states.
Biden warns Americans that domestic gas prices may rise amid new sanctions
President Joe Biden warned Americans that domestic gas prices could rise as the US launched a slew of sanctions against Russia.
“Defending freedom will have cost for us as well, and here at home,” Biden said during a Tuesday speech at the White House. “We need to be honest about that.”
He added: “I’m going to take robust action to make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at [the] Russian economy, not ours.”
Biden announces new sanctions against Russia over Ukraine invasion
President Joe Biden announced sweeping sanctions against Russia over its recent occupation in Ukraine.
Biden said the US was imposing “full blocking sanctions” on two large Russian financial institutions — VEB and Russia’s military bank.
The sanctions also target Russia’s sovereign debt, with Biden saying the US has “cut off Russia’s government from Western financing.”
“It can no longer raise money from the West and can not trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either,” Biden said. Russian oligarchs are also being targeted in the sanctions, Biden said.
The US president denounced Russia’s recognition of expansive borders sought by separatists in eastern Ukraine, calling the moves “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
US embassy trolls Russia with meme after Putin’s revisionist history rant on why Ukraine is not a real country
The US embassy in Kyiv trolled Russia with a meme on Tuesday after President Vladimir Putin went on revisionist history tirade on why Ukraine is not a real country.
A photo posted to Twitter by the embassy shows four photos of religious sites in Kyiv from the years 996 to 1108. Underneath is four photos of a forest with “Moscow” written underneath, and marked with the same timeline.
The meme is a reference to a speech Putin gave on Monday where he claimed that Ukraine was a creation of the Soviet Union and part of Russia’s historic territory.
Putin backs all of rebels’ claims in eastern Ukraine, a possible lead-up to a major assault on Ukrainian defenders
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that he recognized Moscow-backed separatists’ full territorial claims to eastern Ukraine, marking a possible lead-up to a major assault on Ukrainian defenders.
Putin backed the separatists’ claims to the territory in the eastern province of Donbas where the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are located, according to The Moscow Times.
“We recognized them. And this means that we recognized all their fundamental documents, including the constitution,” Putin said during a Tuesday evening press conference, according to a translation from The Moscow Times.
European Commission head says Russia ‘manufactured’ the crisis in Ukraine and is ‘responsible’ for its escalation
The European Commission president said Russia “manufactured” the crisis in Ukraine and is “responsible” for its latest escalation.
“Russia is not respecting its international obligations and it is violating core principles of international law,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference on Tuesday.
She added: “Russia has manufactured this crisis and is responsible for the current escalation.”
von der Leyen said the European Commission is working on finalizing a sanctions package.
Trump slams Biden’s ‘weak sanctions’ on Russia, despite previously suggesting that Russia’s past invasions weren’t a big deal
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized President Joe Biden’s initial sanctions on Russia and questioned whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would have ordered troops into Ukraine during his time in office.
“If properly handled, there was absolutely no reason that the situation currently happening in Ukraine should have happened at all,” Trump said in a statement. “I know Vladimir Putin very well, and he would have never done during the Trump Administration what he is doing now, no way!”
Trump also expressed outrage over Russia “taking over a country and a massive piece of strategically located land,” a stark contrast to some of his past comments that downplayed Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian territory.
White House says Russia has launched the ‘beginning of an invasion’ in Ukraine
The White House said Tuesday that Russia has launched the “beginning of an invasion” in Ukraine following Putin’s order to deploy troops to eastern regions of the country Monday.
“We think this is, yes, the beginning of an invasion, Russia’s latest invasion into Ukraine,” deputy national security advisor Jon Finer told CNN. He was referring to Russia moving so-called “peacekeepers” into separatist territories in eastern Ukraine that the Kremlin recognized as independent on Monday.
“I think ‘latest’ is important here,” Finer said. “An invasion is an invasion, and that is what is underway. But Russia has been invading Ukraine since 2014.”
“I don’t know how much more clear I can be,” he added. “This is the beginning of an invasion.”
Putin says Minsk accords, which were meant to end war in eastern Ukraine, no longer exist
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that the Minsk peace agreements no longer “exist,” according to Russian state media.
The agreements sought to end the war in Eastern Ukraine.
“The Minsk agreements do not exist now,” he said, according to a translation from AFP, one day after he formally recognized the independence of two Moscow-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and ordered troops there.
Putin calls for recognition of Crimea as part of Russia, among other demands
Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a number of demands on Tuesday, including the recognition of Crimea to be a part of Russia.
Putin also called for a halt to weapons shipments to Ukraine and an end to talks of Ukraine joining NATO, both long-standing Russian grievances.
Putin also baselessly claimed on Tuesday that Ukraine had the capacity to create nuclear weapons. The false claim comes as US officials have warned that Russia is seeking a pretext to invade Ukraine.
Ukraine was briefly the third-largest nuclear power in the world after the fall of the Soviet Union due to a large number of Soviet nukes left behind, NPR reported. However, in 1994, the country agreed to give up the nukes in exchange for the US, UK, and Russia guaranteeing its safety.
Ukraine has never produced its own nuclear weapons.
NATO chief says this is the ‘most dangerous’ moment in European security in a ‘generation’
NATO’s secretary general gave a warning Tuesday as the possibility for a Russian invasion of Ukraine looms over Europe.
“This is the most dangerous moment in European security for a generation,” Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into eastern Ukraine on Monday.
“We urge Russia in the strongest possible terms to choose the path of diplomacy,” Stoltenberg added.
Russian lawmakers said Putin can use military force abroad
Russian lawmakers have given President Vladimir Putin the go-ahead to use military force abroad, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
The vote passed unanimously and formalizes a military deployment.
This move comes a day after Putin ordered troops into Eastern Ukraine as a “peacekeeping” operation and could be the precursor to an invasion.
Jen Psaki praises Germany for shutting down Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline over Russian invasion threat
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki commended Germany for shutting down the Nord Stream 2 pipeline after Russia sent troops to Ukraine.
“[Joe Biden] made clear that if Russia invaded Ukraine, we would act with Germany to ensure Nord Stream 2 does not move forward,” Psaki tweeted. “We have been in close consultations with Germany overnight and welcome their announcement.”
She added: “We will be following up with our own measures today.”
UK sanctions Russian banks, individuals
The UK announced sanctions against five
and three individuals on Tuesday in its first move to punish Russia for sending troops to Ukraine.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it the “first tranche, the first barrage” of sanctions over its aggression towards Ukraine.
The five banks are Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank, and the Black Sea Bank. Three individuals – Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg, and Igor Rotenberg – were also named.
Putin orders Russian troops to eastern Ukraine for ‘peacekeeping’ operation, a major escalation towards a war
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Eastern Ukraine on Monday as a “peacekeeping operation,” escalating the conflict between the two countries.
Putin signed a presidential decree allowing the “peacekeeping” after he decided to recognize Donetsk and Luhansk, two separatist territories that are loyal to Moscow, as independent states rather than a part of Ukraine.
Russia has been building up forces around Ukraine for months, while the US and its allies have warned Russia not to invade the country or face severe sanctions.