Thursday, February 22, 2024

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 5

Russian forces are pressing ahead with their military operation in Ukraine to counter what they call a “threat” to their national security from the pro-West Ukrainian government. Kiev and Russia’s Western adversaries call the operations an “invasion”. The situation is fluid in Ukraine right now with both sides claiming victories on the battlefield. Iran Front Page brings you the latest developments on the ground live as they unfold in Ukraine.

US officials: Russian escalation in Ukraine could lead to humanitarian crisis

The massing of Ukrainians at the Polish border is leading to urgent conversations among officials at the State Department and USAID about the need to quickly increase assistance to European countries accepting refugees, according to two senior Joe Biden administration officials with direct knowledge of the situation.

Washington: Russian invasion of Ukraine has ‘clouded’ economic outlook for US

The chair of the Joe Biden administration’s Council of Economic Advisers warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “clouded” the economic outlook for the United States in the coming year as Americans already feel the pain of rising prices.

WH: US has taken steps to address any impact on oil market that could occur from Russia’s invasion

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated the US has taken steps “to address any impact on the global markets, global oil markets, that we expect could happen, expect at the time could happen, and could continue to happen as a result of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.”

Japan’s PM: G7 and allies will urge international community to unite against Russia

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the G7 nations will urge the international community to unite against Russia.

“It is important that all members of the international community respond resolutely to Russia’s acts,” Kishida told reporters in a news conference after a call with G7 leaders and allies.

Kishida added the G7 nations — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — and their partners had also agreed to help Ukrainian refugees following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Disney and Warner Bros. will pause theatrical movie releases in Russia

Disney said it was “pausing” the release of films in Russia, becoming the first Hollywood studio to weigh in publicly on the matter. Warner Bros., which had vowed to press on with the release of “The Batman”, reversed course soon after Disney’s announcement and said it, too, would enact a pause.

National security adviser: WH believes “strategic failure” of Ukraine invasion will dawn on Putin

White House Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Daleep Singh highlighted a series of sanctions the administration was imposing on Russia, telling MSNBC in an interview the administration expects moves to expel Russian banks from SWIFT and freeze the assets of the Russian Central Bank are “going to change the strategic calculus.”

“Let’s look at the course [that Russian President Vladimir Putin is] on — what Russia is looking at is double digit inflation, 15 to 20%, right now Russia is looking at a very deep recession,” he said.

“Russia is looking at a complete isolation from the global economy, from the global financial system, and from global technology. It’s looking at a fortification of NATO’s eastern flank. It’s looking at Europe diversifying away from Russian energy, and it’s looking at a West that is more energized and unified and determined than any point in the post-Cold War era. At some point the strategic failure, we think, will dawn upon Putin and the de-escalation may have a chance. But until then, we’ll continue to impose costs,” Singh added.

Ukrainian official: Missile strike in Kyiv region destroys dormitory and residential buildings

A missile strike on Vasylkiv, Bila Tserkva and Kalinovka in the Kyiv region destroyed a five-story dormitory and two five-story residential buildings, Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior claimed.

Three state emergency service units are on their way to provide assistance to the dormitory that was hit in Bila Tserkva.

Emergency service units are not en route to the two five-story residential buildings in Vasylkiv and Kalinovka because the shelling is ongoing.

Russia: EU taking sides with Ukraine by supplying weapons to it

The European Union’s decision to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine means that it is fully taking sides with the Kiev regime, which has embarked on a policy of genocide of its own population, the Russian foreign ministry announced.

Pentagon: Putin placing Russian nuclear weapons on high alert is “as unnecessary as it is escalatory”

After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia’s deterrence forces — including its nuclear weapons — have been placed on high alert, the Pentagon responded by calling the announcement “as unnecessary as it is escalatory.”

The response was issued by Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby during a briefing on Monday.

Kirby went on to note that the Pentagon is “reviewing and analyzing” Putin’s announcement.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is “comfortable with the strategic deterrent posture of the United States, and our ability to defend our homeland and our partners,” Kirby also said.

Pentagon: Russian forces are trying to move closer to Kyiv but are still outside city center

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby stated the Russian forces are trying to move closer to Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv, but still are outside of the city center.

“But clearly we continue to see Russian forces move on — or try to move closer to so they can move on Kyiv from the ground,” Kirby noted during a briefing at the Pentagon on Monday.

“We still assess that they’re outside the city center, and but, what we know clearly, that they have intentions with respect to Kyiv,” he announced.

Ukrainians are “resisting quite effectively around Kyiv,” Kirby continued, adding, “They’ve made it a tough slog for the Russians to move further south.”

Kirby could not say specifically that a Russian convoy that has been seen on satellite imagery is headed for Kyiv, but he said “it clearly appears to, just anecdotally, as just a piece of their desire to continue to move on the capital.”

US officials warn overwhelming wave of Russian troops expected in Ukraine

US administration officials warned lawmakers in classified briefings that a second wave of Russian troops will likely consolidate the country’s positions within Ukraine and by sheer numbers be able to overcome the Ukrainian resistance, according to two people familiar with the briefings.

“That part was disheartening,” one lawmaker told CNN.

The officials also said Russia was likely to lay siege to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and predicted ugly scenes of urban warfare, one of the people familiar with the matter added.

WH: Biden remains committed to keeping US troops out of Ukraine conflict

As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continues to call for a no fly zone in Ukraine, the White House said President Joe Biden remains firm in his commitment to keep US troops out of the conflict.

The UN will ask donors for nearly $2 billion for Ukraine’s refugees

The United Nations will announce an appeal on Tuesday for nearly $2 billion in donations for Ukrainians who have been forced from their homes, including refugees in neighboring Poland and Moldova who are living close to the border in hopes they can soon return, a senior official said Monday.

Officials were bracing for the flood of people left homeless by Russia’s invasion to become the world’s latest refugee crisis, with the potential of as many as 4 million people fleeing Ukraine, stated Kelly T. Clements, the U.N.’s deputy high commissioner for refugees.

NHL suspends all business relations in Russia

The National Hockey League (NHL) announced Monday that it is suspending its business relations in Russia, effective immediately.

Top US general meets virtually with NATO military leaders

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley took part in a virtual meeting of NATO’s Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a readout from Joint Staff spokesperson Col. Dave Butler said.

Australia to send missiles to Ukraine as part of $50 million support package

Australia will send missiles as part of a $50 million package of lethal and non-lethal aid to help Ukraine repel Russian forces, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Morrison told a news conference Tuesday that anti-armor missiles are proving extraordinarily effective for Ukrainian forces.

Zelensky calls for closure “of the sky” for Russian missiles, aircraft and helicopters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for the “complete closure of the sky for Russian missiles, aircraft and helicopters.”

“Evil, armed with missiles, bombs, and artillery, must be stopped immediately, destroyed economically. To show that humanity is able to defend itself, it is necessary to consider a complete closure of the sky for Russian missiles, aircraft, helicopters,” he said in a message posted to his Facebook page.

“A state that commits crimes against civilians cannot be a member of the UN Security Council. For such a state the entrance to all ports, canals, airports in the world must be closed. Such a state should not receive hundreds of billions for energy exports. To buy Russian goods now is to pay for killing people,” Zelensky added.

Johnson urges world leaders to keep up the pressure on Putin

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged G7 and other world leaders to continue to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons and to keep up the pressure on Putin’s regime.

Following a call with world leaders Monday, a Downing St. spokesperson said the leaders all agreed that Ukraine’s “valiant resistance” to Russian troops is “truly inspirational.”

Johnson also “underlined the need for an international response to the emerging humanitarian crisis, including through supporting Ukraine’s neighbours to deal with large numbers of Ukrainians escaping violence in the country,” according to the statement.

The prime minister stressed the need to keep hitting Russia with trade restrictions and sanctions including SWIFT, a messaging service that connects financial institutions around the world.

The leaders agreed to “pursue every avenue to ensure that Putin fails in his ambitions,” the statement added.

Russia claims to have hit 1,146 military installations in Ukraine

The Russian military claimed that its armed forces have hit 1,146 Ukrainian military installations since the beginning of the “special operation,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the spokesperson for Russian Ministry of Defense, said in a statement.

Shell joins BP in divesting from Russia

Shell will end all joint ventures with Russian majority state-owned oil company Gazprom in response to the invasion of Ukraine, the oil company announced.

The announcement comes a day after another major oil company, BP, announced its own divestment from its 20 percent stake in Russian oil company Rosneft.

TikTok blocks Russia-backed outlets in European Union

TikTok has blocked Russian-backed outlets, such as RT and Sputnik, in the European Union, a spokesperson for the social media company tells CNN.

The action follows a similar moves by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram.

Ukrainian FM says US offering more support to resist Russia

The United States is offering more support to help Ukraine resist Russia, according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

Early Tuesday morning local time, a tweet from the foreign minister’s verified account referenced a conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Kuleba tweeted, “In our call, Blinken affirmed that the US support for Ukraine remains unfaltering. I underscored that Ukraine craves for peace, but as long as we are under Russia’s assault we need more sanctions and weapons. Secretary assured me of both. We coordinated further steps.”

World Rugby sanctions Russia and Belarus

Russia and Belarus have been suspended from all international rugby and cross-border club activities until further notice, the sport’s governing body said.

Satellite images: Russian military convoy near Kyiv is more than 40 miles long

New satellite images from Maxar Technologies show the Russian military convoy that has reached the outskirts of Kyiv is even longer than it previously measured.

Maxar announced late Monday the convoy is more than 40 miles long. Earlier Monday, Maxar said the convoy took up roughly 17 miles of roadway.

Maxar told CNN earlier Monday the large military convoy consisted of armored vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and other logistical vehicles.

Maxar attributed the updated convoy length to additional satellite imagery they collected and analyzed. Maxar added data and imagery taken Monday shows the convoy stretches from the Antonov airbase — about 17 miles from Kyiv’s city center — to just north of Pribyrsk, Ukraine.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 5

EU slaps 26 additional Russians with sanctions

The European Union has imposed sanctions on 26 more Russians, including oligarchs, senior officials and an energy insurance company, bringing the total of people targeted to 680.

EU headquarters announced those listed include “oligarchs and businessmen active in the oil, banking and finance sectors,” government officials, top military brass and “propagandists who contributed to spread anti-Ukrainian propaganda and promote a positive attitude towards the invasion of Ukraine.”

US expels 12 Russian UN staff for non-diplomat activities

The United States has ordered twelve members of Russia’s mission to the United Nations to leave America for engaging in non-diplomatic activities.

“Those diplomats that have been asked to leave the United States were engaged in activities that were not in accordance with their responsibilities and obligations as diplomats,” Deputy US Ambassador Richard Mills told the UN Security Council, without elaborating further.

Envoy to UN says Ukraine welcomes an ICC investigation into Russia’s invasion

Ukraine welcomes the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to open an investigation into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said Sergiy Kyslytsya, the country’s ambassador to the UN.

“We welcome the statement issued today by the ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, on the situation in Ukraine — his statement about his decision to proceed with opening an investigation,” Kyslytsya told the UN Security Council.

“Given the expansion of the conflict in recent days, it is [the ICC prosecutor’s] intention that this investigation will also encompass any new alleged crimes, falling within the jurisdiction of his office, that are committed by any party to the conflict on any part of the territory of Ukraine,” he added.

Kyslytsya stated the ICC prosecutor “will also be asking for the support of all state parties and the international community as a whole as his office sets about its investigation” and will be calling for additional budgetary contributions to support the investigation.

Zelensky accuses Russia of war crimes in bombardment of Kharkiv

In a late night address Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that in five days, 56 missile strikes and 113 cruise missiles were launched in Ukraine by Russian forces.

He added, “Today, Russian forces brutally fired on Kharkiv from jet artillery. It was clearly a war crime.”

“Kharkiv is a peaceful city, there are peaceful residential areas, no military facilities. Dozens of eyewitness accounts prove that this is not a single false volley, but deliberate destruction of people: the Russians knew where they were shooting,” he noted.

“There will definitely be an international tribunal for this crime — it’s a violation of all conventions. No one in the world will forgive you for killing peaceful Ukrainian people,” he stated.

Finland, Norway to send Ukraine weapons

The Finnish government has decided to provide the Ukrainian authorities with military assistance, including assault rifles, anti-tank weapons, and combat ration packages, the Finnish defense ministry announced.

Norway also decided to provide Ukraine with additional military support, in particular, M72 light anti-tank weapons, the Norwegian government announced.

WH: Banning Russian flights is not off the table

The White House said barring Russian flights over the United States is not off the table but there had not been a decision made on the matter.

“No option is off the table,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters.

She noted there are a lot of US airlines that fly over Russia to get to Asia and other parts of the world, adding, “We factor in a range of factors.”

ICC to proceed with investigation into alleged war crimes

The office of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has announced it will seek court approval to open an investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

“The next step is to proceed with the process of seeking and obtaining authorisation from the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Court to open an investigation,” Prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement.

Ukraine makes offer to Russian soldiers who lay down weapons

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov has appealed to Russian soldiers, saying they will receive full amnesty and monetary compensation if they lay down their weapons.

“Those of you who do not want to become a murderer and die can save yourselves,” he added.

Moscow warns against supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine

Russia’s foreign ministry has said those supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine will bear responsibility should they be used during Russia’s military campaign there.

The ministry added that the steps the European Union has taken against Russia will not be left without a harsh response.

EU agrees to finance arms delivery to Ukraine

The European Union agreed for the first time to jointly finance weapons deliveries to a third country to help Ukraine fend off the Russian invasion, EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said.

A number of European countries including Norway, Italy and Finland have announced they will provide arms to Ukraine.

UN holds emergency session on Ukraine

Ukraine’s ambassador has told a rare emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly that if his country is crushed, international peace and democracy are in peril.

“Have no illusions. If Ukraine does not survive, we cannot be surprised if democracy fails next,” Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya stated.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted “the guns are talking now, but the path of dialogue must always remain open.”

The meeting has been the assembly’s first emergency session in decades.

FIFA, UEFA suspend all Russian football teams

Russian national football teams and club teams have been suspended from competition until further notice by global football governing body FIFA and European football governing body UEFA.

“Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine,” the joint statement said on Monday.

“Both (FIFA and UEFA) Presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people,” it added.

Explosions heard near Kyiv

Several large detonations were heard around 6:40 p.m. local time Monday to the east of the Kyiv’s city center.

They were the largest explosions heard Monday. They were followed by sirens going off across the city.

US official: Russian forces could take “more aggressive approach” towards Kyiv

It is possible that the Russians could take a “more aggressive approach” in their attempts to take the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv, because they are frustrated that their progress has slowed and they’ve faced resistance from Ukrainians there, a senior US defense official told reporters.

“We still believe that Kyiv is an objective for them. It’s impossible to speculate as to how they may or may not change their plans going forward,” the official added.

Russian forces are “causing civilian harm and they are striking civilian targets,” the official said, but it is unclear “whether it’s intentional and directed”.

US security assistance to Ukraine has continued to arrive, including within the last day, the official noted.

The Russian advance on the Ukrainian capital city Kyiv “remains slowed”, but Russian forces moved five kilometers (about three miles) closer to the city center since yesterday, the official stated.

Erdogan indicates Turkey will curb passage of Russian warships

Turkey will use its powers over two key waterways to limit the passage of Russian warships to and from the Black Sea, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated as he made his strongest show of support for Ukraine since the launch of Russia’s invasion.

The Turkish leader, who has in recent years forged close relations with both Kyiv and Moscow, used a televised address to suggest that Turkey would use the powers granted it under the 1936 Montreux Convention to prevent some naval vessels from transiting the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits.

“We have the authority and we have decided to use it in a way that will prevent the crisis from escalating,” he said.

The Turkish president, who heads a NATO member state but had alienated western allies in recent years by buying an air defence system from Moscow, stated that Ankara saw both Russia and Ukraine as “friendly” countries. But he noted that Turkey viewed the Russian invasion of Ukraine as “unacceptable.”

In his clearest support yet for the Ukrainian government, he added, “We appreciate the struggle of the Ukrainian leadership and the Ukrainian people.”

Russian delegation head: Points of contact for common positions found at Russia-Ukraine talks

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators have found some points of contact from which common positions can be built on, Vladimir Medinsky, special assistant to President Vladimir Putin and head of the Russian delegation, has told reporters.

“Talks with the Ukrainian side which lasted about 5 hours have just wrapped up. We discussed in detail all the items on the agenda and found some common points on which we predict common positions can be found,” the official said.

“The next meeting will take place in the coming days on the Polish-Belarusian border. There is a corresponding agreement on this,” Medinsky stated, adding, “Until then, each delegation – the leadership of each delegations will consult on each of the negotiating positions with the leadership of their respective country.”

Mikhail Podolyak, advisor to the head of Ukrainian President’s Office, confirmed that a second round of talks was discussed.

“The two sides identified a number of priority topics on which certain decisions have been outlined. In order for them to have an opportunity to be implemented…the parties are leaving for consultations in their respective capitals. The possibility of a second round of negotiations in the near future during which these topics will receive concrete, practical development was discussed,” Podolyak noted.

Putin signs decree on special economic measures against US, allies

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree “On the application of special economic measures against the United States and countries that have joined them,” the Kremlin press service reported.

According to the decree, Russian residents are banned from transferring foreign currency to their accounts or deposits in foreign banks.

Truss unveils new sanctions on Russia

The UK Foreign Secretary set out two new pieces of sanctions legislation in the House of Commons:

The first introduces a sweeping set of new powers against Russia’s financial sector, including powers to prevent Russian banks from clearing payments in sterling.

More than 50 per cent of Russian trade is denominated in dollars and sterling, Truss says -meaning it will “damage Russia’s ability to trade with the world”.

As soon as it comes into force, it will be applied to Russia’s largest bank.

The second involves a full asset freeze on three further Russian banks – VEB, Sovcombank and Otkritie.

A full asset freeze will be brought in on all Russian banks within days, as Britain looks to coordinate with its allies. More than three million businesses will be isolated from accessing UK markets, while exports to Russia will be banned across a range of sectors.

UK will lead efforts to block Russia from Interpol

Britain will seek to suspend Russia from international policing body Interpol, the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel told parliament.

Russia-Ukraine peace talks in Belarus end

Negotiations between the delegations of Russia and Ukraine in the Gomel Region of Belarus have ended.

Russian and Ukrainian talks have ended in Belarus and the two parties have returned to their capitals for consultations, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s adviser, Mikhaylo Podolyak, told reporters after the talks.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 5

Zelensky signs application for Ukraine’s membership in EU

President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed an application for Ukraine’s membership in the European Union, Deputy Head of the President’s Office Andriy Sybiha said.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 5

Regional official claims rocket attacks kill 11 in Kharkiv

The head of the regional administration in Kharkiv, Oleg Synegubov, has said that at least 11 people were killed and dozens of others wounded during Russian rocket attacks on the eastern Ukrainian city.

The city, Ukraine’s second-largest, has become one of the major battlegrounds since Moscow launched its invasion.

Synegubov added Russian forces were firing artillery at residential areas of Kharkiv where there are no Ukrainian army positions or strategic infrastructure.

“This is happening in the daytime, when people have gone out to the pharmacy, for groceries, or for drinking water. It’s a crime,” he stated.

It was not immediately possible to independently verify the casualty figures. Earlier Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko announced Russian rocket bombardments on Kharkiv on Monday had killed dozens of people.

UK bans Russian ships from docking in its ports

“The maritime sector is fundamental to international trade and we must play our part in restricting Russia’s economic interests and holding the Russian government to account,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a letter.

Macron demands Moscow ends its offensive

French President Emmanuel Macron has told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to halt Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine, his office said.

Macron also urged Putin to stop all strikes on civilians in Ukraine, preserve the country’s civilian infrastructure and provide safe access to key roads, especially south of the capital, Kyiv, his office added.

“President Putin confirmed his willingness to commit on these three points,” the Elysee palace said, adding that Macron and Putin also agreed to stay in contact over coming days.

In its own statement on the talks, the Kremlin announced Putin had told Macron that a settlement on Ukraine was only possible if Kyiv was neutral and “demilitarised” and if Russian control over the annexed Crimean Peninsula was formally recognised.

EU: Cutting energy dependence on Russia is an ‘existential’ issue

The European Union faces an existential task to reduce its dependency on Russian oil and gas and move to renewable sources and hydrogen in the wake of Moscow’s attack on Ukraine, the bloc’s foreign policy chief says.

“Energy will not be out of this conflict, like it or not,” Josep Borrell told a news conference in Brussels.

“We have a dependency on Russian gas … and it is an existential policy to reduce this dependency,” he added, before warning the switch would not be easy.

About one-third of the natural gas used by the EU is currently supplied by Moscow.

Switzerland adopts EU sanctions against Russia

Switzerland’s president stated his country, which is traditionally neutral, will adopt all of the sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia.

“This is a big step for Switzerland,” Ignazio Cassis told a news conference after the Alpine nation had for days hesitated over whether to join with Western powers and move to economically punish Moscow for its assault on Ukraine.

Finance Minister Ueli Maurer told reporters that the holdings of those figuring on Brussels’ blacklist, including President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had been “frozen with immediate effect.”

Canada will send an additional $25 million in military aid to support Ukraine

Canada will being sending an additional $25 million in military aid to Ukraine, Mélanie Joly, minister of foreign affairs, and Anita Anand, minister of national defense, announced in a joint news release.

Russian FM cancels trip to UN in Geneva due to EU airspace ban

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has canceled his visit to Geneva for the session of the UN Human Rights Council, because of the European Union’s ban on Russian aircraft, the Russian Mission in Geneva announced.

The EU has confirmed its decision to shut down its airspace to Russia. The ban is part of the measures in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Johnson: Putin has made a ‘colossal mistake’

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated President Vladimir Putin had made a “colossal mistake” believing his troops would be “garlanded with roses” by Ukrainians.

The PM’s official spokesman said, “The Prime Minister said it is becoming clearer with each day that Putin had made a colossal mistake believing that the guns of his tanks would be garlanded with roses when instead the Ukrainian people had put up a fierce resistance in defence of their homeland.”

“He said latest intelligence suggested Putin’s advances had been hampered by logistical problems and the heroic efforts of the Ukrainian military who are inflicting significant casualties on Russian troops,” the spokesman added.

“He said Putin had also underestimated Western unity and the strength of the sanctions his action could lead to,” the spokesperson continued.

Borrell: Ukraine’s EU membership ‘not on the agenda’

The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell stated that membership for Ukraine is currently “not on the agenda”, with the Russian offensive a more pressing issue.

Earlier, President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the EU for Kiev’s “immediate accession.”

Speaking before a meeting of the bloc’s defense ministers, Borrell told reporters that his immediate focus was to “provide an answer for the coming hours, not the coming years”. While he did not rule out membership, Borrell noted that providing military assistance to Ukraine was a more pressing issue, describing Russia’s military attack as “an existential threat” to Europe.

IOC recommends banning Russian, Belarusian athletes from international events

The International Olympic Committee has said its executive board had recommended that international sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from competing in events.

Switzerland Closes Its Airspace For All Flights From Russia and Any Aircraft With Russian Marking

Switzerland is closing its airspace for all flights from Russia and any aircraft with Russian markings, except for flights for humanitarian, medical, and diplomatic needs, the Federal Council announced in a statement.

Central Bank: Russia has internal replacement for SWIFT

Russia has a system that can replace the SWIFT global payments system internally, the governor of the country’s central bank says.

Elvira Nabiullina added that all banks in Russia will fulfil their obligations and all funds on their accounts are secured.

The United States, European Union and United Kingdom have all agreed to block selected Russian banks from the SWIFT system, which facilitates moving money around thousands of banks and other financial institutions worldwide.

Kremlin comments on ‘effectiveness’ of Ukraine military operation

The Kremlin announced it was too early to speak about the results of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, as hostilities entered their fifth day.

“I don’t think right now is the time to speak about the results of the operation or its effectiveness – we must wait for its conclusion,” Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, told reporters.

Putin slams West as an ‘Empire of Lies’

President Vladimir Putin has denounced the West an “Empire of Lies” while discussing Russia’s economy with Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and other top officials following the imposition of sweeping sanctions against Moscow, according to the Kremlin.

Russia bans airlines from 36 countries

Russia has barred airlines from 36 countries including Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy and Canada from using Russian airspace in a retaliatory move after sweeping sanctions targeting its aviation sector.

Kremlin: Russia has potential to cover losses from new sanctions

Russia has the potential to cover losses from new western sanctions, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“Those are tight sanctions, they are displeasing, but Russia has the necessary potential to cover losses from those sanctions,” he continued.

Russian nuclear forces placed on enhanced combat duty 

The Russia’s defence ministry has said its strategic missile forces and Northern and Pacific fleets had been placed on enhanced combat duty, the Interfax news agency reported, in line with an order from President Vladimir Putin.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin that “shifts on duty at the command posts of the Strategic Missile Forces, the Northern and Pacific Fleets, and the Long-Range Aviation Command began to carry out combat duty with reinforced personnel”, Interfax quoted the ministry as saying.

UEFA set to remove Spartak Moscow from Europa League

Russian side Spartak Moscow have reportedly been kicked out of the Europa League due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Their opponents RB Leipzig will get an automatic bye to the quarter-finals, claim German media outlet Bild.

Borrell: EU will deliver defensive weapons to Ukraine

European Union defence ministers are set to discuss plans later to jointly finance deliveries of weapons worth 500 million euros ($560m) to Ukraine, and these will include a range of defensive arms aimed at helping assist Kyiv’s efforts to repel Russian forces, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said.

“Member states have to provide these arms, they have to coordinate with what they are doing … with these resources,” Josep Borrell stated ahead of the virtual meeting of the bloc’s defence ministers.

“The fight is fierce, Kyiv is resisting … and Russia is paying a high toll in number of casualties, but we have to provide the munitions, we have to provide the high-calibre guns and anti-tank equipment. Also fuel … for the tanks, for the planes, all that has to be coordinated,” he added.

UN refugee chief says 500,000 people have fled Ukraine

More than 500,000 people have fled Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion, Filippo Grandi, the UN’s high commissioner for refugees, said.

The latest and still growing count had 281,000 people entering Poland, more than 84,500 in Hungary, about 36,400 in Moldova, more than 32,500 in Romania and about 30,000 in Slovakia, UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo stated.

The rest were scattered in unidentified other countries, Mantoo added.

Biden administration expands sanctions against Russia, cutting off US transactions with central bank

The Joe Biden administration announced additional sanctions against Russia’s central bank, a move that effectively prohibits Americans from doing any business with the bank as well as freezes assets within the United States.

The new measures will also target the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.

A senior Biden administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to share Washington’s thinking, said the new sanctions will take effect immediately.

“Our strategy to put it simply is to make sure that the Russian economy goes backward. As long as President Vladimir Putin decides to go forward with his invasion of Ukraine,” the official continued.

The US is also adding Kirill Dmitriev, another ally of Putin, to the sanctions list as well as the direct investment fund Dmitriev heads. The Russian Direct Investment Fund, or RDIF, is officially a sovereign wealth fund but is widely considered a slush fund for Putin.

The official noted that Washington expects its allies to take similar steps in the coming days.

Dozens killed in rocket strikes on Kharkiv

Dozens of people have been killed by Russian rocket strikes on the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko claimed.

“Kharkiv has just been massively fired upon by grads (rockets). Dozens of dead and hundreds of wounded,” Herashchenko stated.

There was no immediate comment from Moscow on Herashchenko’s remarks.

Zelensky says Japan to provide Ukraine with $100m aid package

Ukraine’s president says Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has agreed to provide Kyiv with $100m of aid, on top of existing financial support.

“A truly global anti-war coalition works,” Volodymr Zelensky tweeted after the pair spoke by phone.

Kishida said separately that Tokyo will join the international sanctions effort on Russia’s central bank and impose sanctions on Belarusian individuals and organisations including President Alexander Lukashenko given the country’s “evident involvement in the invasion” of Ukraine.

Russian students being expelled from European universities amid situation in Ukraine

Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Tatiana Moskalkova announced the expulsion of Russian students from European universities due to the situation with Ukraine and discussed with the Russian Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov the protection of their rights.

“The Ministry is taking unprecedented measures to protect the rights of Russian students who are expelled from universities in France, the Czech Republic, Belgium and other European countries due to the situation in Ukraine. We agreed to carry out this important work together,” Moskalkova wrote on her Instagram page.

Spain proposes shutting European ports for Russian vessels

Spain is proposing to the European Union’s member countries to close European ports for Russian ships, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares stated.

“Regarding the issue of ports and seas — yesterday I proposed on behalf of Spain, and there were many countries that supported me, I hope that this measure will be adopted in the coming days. In addition to closing the European air space for Russian flights, it was also [proposed] to close the ports of Europe,” the minister told the RNE national radio station.

The Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda has confirmed that the country intends to close its ports to all Russian vessels.

Russia’s TASS news agency displays anti-Putin message after hack

The website of Russian state news agency TASS appears to have been hacked, the Reuters news agency reports, with its regular site replaced with an anti-war message and calls to stop President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We urge you to stop this madness, do not send your sons and husbands to certain death,” the message read, Reuters reported, citing checks from several different devices.

“Putin is forcing us to lie and is putting us in danger…It’s not our war, let’s stop him!” it continued.

Bulgarian DM to be sacked over Ukraine rhetoric

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on Monday he would sack Defence Minister Stefan Yanev after Yanev’s reluctance to describe the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a war prompted calls for his removal.

Petkov said the centrist coalition government will have a meeting later on Monday to vote on Yanev’s dismissal, when he would also propose a new defence minister. Petkov added all coalition partners have agreed to Yanev’s sacking.

Dutch PM says ‘Putin’s aggression must be stopped’

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has called for international unity to end Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Speaking to his country’s parliament, Rutte said the world’s free and democratic states were “united in their rejection of this invasion and support for [the] Ukrainian people”.

“We must stop Russia’s aggression, Vladimir Putin’s aggression, jointly with our partners and allies,” he added.

Iran’s Russia envoy: NATO’s eastward expansion threating Tehran, Moscow

Iran’s ambassador to Russia stated neither Tehran nor Moscow sees NATO’s expansion toward their boarders in line with their interests.

Nearly 6,000 detained across Russia after fourth day of anti-war protests

Russian authorities have detained a total of 5,942 people for participating in anti-war protests across the country since the Kremlin ordered an invasion of Ukraine, independent monitoring site OVD-Info reported.

According to the latest data, 2,802 people were detained for taking part in unsanctioned demonstrations in 57 cities throughout the country on Sunday, OVD-Info also reported. In Moscow alone, 1,275 people were detained.

Guterres decries human rights violations, pledges to step up Ukraine mission

The UN has put further pressure on Moscow, raising its voice on human rights violations in Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion, adding that its mission was stepping up its operations.

“Conflict is the utter negation of human rights across the board,” the head of the UN said, adding that Russia’s military might in Ukraine was leading to “the escalation of human rights violations”.

“I have consistently called for the end of the offensive and the return to the past of dialogue and diplomacy,” António Guterres said, stating that the UN was increasing its humanitarian operations in Ukraine.

“We must show all people in Ukraine that we stand by them in their hour of need,” Guterres continued.

Kremlin: Russia will respond to European bans on air travel

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 5

Zelensky: 4,500 Russian soldiers killed so far

President Volodymr Zelensky claimed 4,500 Russian soldiers have been killed so far.

He urged Russian soldiers to lay down their arms, and called on them to “save your lives and leave”.

“Abandon your equipment. Get out of here. Don’t believe your commanders. Don’t believe your propagandists. Just save your lives,” Zelensky stated in a new address to Russia’s forces.

He added that 16 children have been killed and 45 have been wounded over the past four days.

Zelensky has announced that Ukraine will release prisoners with military experience if they are willing to join the fight against Russia.

UN human rights chief: ‘At least’ 102 civilians killed in Ukraine

Michelle Bachelet, the UN human rights chief, said that at least 102 civilians, including seven children, had been killed in Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion five days ago, warning the true numbers were likely far higher.

“Most of these civilians were killed by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and airstrikes,” she told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, warning that “the real figures are, I fear, considerably higher.”

The UN Human Rights Council has brushed aside Russian objections and accepted a request from Ukraine for an urgent debate on Russia’s invasion, where Ukraine is expected to call for a team of human rights experts to monitor and report on abuses and war crimes. The council’s 47 members voted 29 to 5 in favor of holding the session, with 13 abstentions. China joined Russia in voting against the session along with Cuba, Venezuela and Eritrea.

Residents of Berdyansk, captured by Russia, sing national anthem

Mariupol residents say city surrounded by Russian forces

Residents in Mariupol say the port city on the sea of Azov was surrounded by Russian troops and under heavy attack.

NATO allies ‘stepping up’ military support to Ukraine

NATO member states are “stepping up” their support for Ukraine by providing Kyiv with air-defence missiles and anti-tank weapons, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg added that the United States-led alliance was also providing Ukraine with “humanitarian and financial aid”.

Zelensky requests immediate EU membership for Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky once again appealed to the European Union to accept Ukraine as a member state via a special procedure.

“We appeal to the European Union regarding immediate accession of Ukraine via a new special procedure. We are grateful to our partners for being with us, but our goal is to be with Europeans and, most importantly, be with them as equals,” Zelensky stated in a video address on his Telegram channel.

UK DM: Russia’s attack ‘not on schedule’ and ‘in some significant areas of disarray’

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “not on schedule” and Vladimir Putin’s forces “are in some significant areas of disarray”, the British defence secretary has told Sky News.

Ben Wallace said the Russian invasion launched last week is not having the “strategic impact” that Moscow believed it would.

Putin’s nuclear deterrent alert is rhetoric designed to distract from the invasion of Ukraine and not linked practical steps to increase readiness to use the weapons, Wallace added.

The UK has managed to supply Ukraine with weapons since the start of the Russian operation, Wallace stated.

The defence minister noted the country managed to supply both lethal and non-lethal weapons, but refused to disclose any details for security reasons.

UK imposes “strongest” sanctions against Russia

The United Kingdom will immediately impose more sanctions against Russia, banning British entities from undertaking financial transactions involving the Russian Central Bank, the Russian National Wealth Fund and its Ministry of Finance, the government said in a statement.

London will make further designations this week, the statement added.

Russian military announces “safe” corridor for Kyiv residents to leave

The Russian military announced an “open and safe” corridor for Ukrainian civilians to leave the capital, Kyiv, on Monday.

Ukrainian delegation arrives at place of negotiations with Russia on helicopters

The delegation from Kyiv includes Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak among others, Volodymyr Zelensky’s office said in a statement.

“The key issue of the talks is an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of troops from Ukraine,” it added.

The negotiations are expected to get under way imminently.

Beijing on disconnecting Russia from SWIFT: China not backing sanctions to settle issues

China does not approve of the use of sanctions as a means to resolve conflicts, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin stated.

“China does not support the use of sanctions to solve problems, and opposes unilateral sanctions that have no basis in international law,” Wang told reporters when asked about Beijing’s stance on Russia being disconnected from the SWIFT payment system.

Commenting on the possibility that Chinese companies will join anti-Russian sanctions, the diplomat noted that Beijing demands that the US do not harm the legitimate rights and interests of China and other parties in resolving the Ukrainian issue.

Russian aviation gains air superiority over entire Ukraine

Russian aviation has gained air superiority over entire Ukraine, Russian Armed Forces eliminated 1,114 objects of Ukrainian military infrastructure, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov announced.

He noted that “since the beginning of the operation, Russian Armed Forces hit 1,114 objects of Ukrainian military infrastructure, including 31 control centers and communications nodes, 341 tanks and other armored vehicles, 57 multiple launch rocket systems, 121 field artillery units and mortars, 274 special military automobile vehicles.”

Russian military are guarding and controlling the territory of the Zaporozhskaya nuclear power plant, he stated.

The Ukrainian authorities are using Kiev residents as a human shield and deploying artillery guns in residential quarters, he claimed.

Ukraine claims Russian forces have reduced pace of their offensive

Russian forces have reduced the pace of their offensive against Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers.

“The Russian occupiers have reduced the pace of the offensive, but are still trying to develop success in some areas in the offensive against Ukraine,” the Cabinet of Ministers posted on their official Twitter page, without providing more details.

The Ukrainian armed forces claimed they had succeeded slowing the pace of the Russian offensive. They accused the Russian forces of continuing to target civilian airfields and other critical infrastructure in violation of international humanitarian law.

“At the same time, all attempts by the Russian invaders to achieve the goal of the military operation failed,” the military announced in a statement.

UK: Most Russian forces still more than 30 kilometers north of Kyiv

The bulk of Russian ground forces are still more than more than 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) north of Kyiv, the UK’s Ministry of Defense said in a tweet.

Russia’s advance was “slowed by Ukrainian forces defending Hostomel airfield, a key Russian objective for day one of the conflict,” the ministry added.

Report: Belarus prepares to join Russia invasion on Ukraine

Belarus is preparing to send soldiers into Ukraine to support Russia’s invasion in a deployment that could begin “within hours”, the Kyiv Independent reported, citing unnamed sources.

A US administration official also told the Washington Post that Belarus is joining Russia to fight Ukrainian forces.

“It’s very clear Minsk is now an extension of the Kremlin,” stated the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

UN says Ukraine radioactive waste site struck

The UN nuclear watchdog said missiles have hit a radioactive waste disposal site in Kyiv, but there are no reports of damage to the buildings or indications of a release of radioactive material.

S. Korea bans exporting strategic items to Russia, joins SWIFT sanctions

South Korea has decided to tighten export controls against Russia by banning exports of strategic items, and join Western countries’ moves to block some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system, Seoul’s foreign ministry announced.

Japan: Tokyo working on anti-Russian SWIFT measures

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Japan was asked to join in measures blocking Russia from SWIFT by Western nations and was working with them to make the measures effective.

He added Japan will continue to cooperate with other nations, including the Group of Seven, but declined to comment when asked about sanctions on the Russian central bank.

Russian diplomat: Moscow still has friends in world

Russia still has friends in the world, for instance, China, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated.

“Of course, we have,” she said in an interview with the Vecher (Evening) with Vladimir Solovyov program on the Rossiya-1 television channel when asked whether Russia still has any friends.

“Look at the reaction of world giants. Those who are not seeking to present themselves as giants, but who really are giants. In particular, China. You must have seen this reaction,” she added.

Zakharova said the emergence of nuclear weapons in Ukraine would be a “golden dream” for the US.

“The US deployed its nuclear weapons on the territory of European countries. It’s not France and the UK that have their own nuclear weapons. This is Italy and many other countries that possess the US nuclear weapons but they do not have access to them. The US controls them there. It was a golden dream that it would appear in Ukraine,” she added.

Blasts heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv

Blasts were heard in the capital Kyiv and the major city Kharkiv, Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection has reported.

Several Ukraine regions under Russia missile attacks

Russian forces carried out missile strikes across Ukraine overnight, according to Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to the head of the President’s Office.

On Monday morning, his office reported strikes in Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Zaporizhzhia and Chernihiv. No further details were immediately available.

Times claims Kremlin sends mercenaries into Kyiv to assassinate Zelensky

More than 400 Russian mercenaries have been flown in from Africa to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the Times.

A private militia known as the Wagner Group allegedly has orders from Vladimir Putin to take out Zelensky – and 23 other government figures – to allow Moscow to take over its eastern European neighbour.

FINA cancels World Junior Championships in Russia

Swimming’s global governing body FINA has called off the World Junior Swimming Championships that were set to take place in Kazan, Russia, in late August.

“FINA will not be holding any future events in Russia if this grave crisis continues,” the group announced in a statement, saying also it had decided to cancel the biennial event after consulting athletes and stakeholders.

Switzerland-based FINA added that it would provide whatever practical support it could to members of the aquatics family impacted by Russia’s invasion.

Google temporarily disables Google Maps live traffic data in Ukraine

Alphabet Inc’s Google confirmed it has temporarily disabled in Ukraine some Google Maps tools that provide live information about traffic conditions and how busy different places are.

The company announced it took the action for the safety of local communities after consulting with sources, including regional authorities.

Zelensky tells Johnson: Next 24 hours crucial for Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky told the UK prime minister by telephone that the next 24 hours are crucial for Ukraine, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.

Boris Johnson stated the UK and its allies would do everything possible to guarantee that defensive aid reached Ukraine, the spokesperson announced in a statement.

Ukrainian villagers mobilized, bracing for invading Russian troops

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 5

Russian ruble plunges nearly 30% against the dollar

The Russian ruble dived around 29% against the dollar on Monday morning, as markets assessed the impact of sanctions on Russia amid a growing backlash against the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 5
People lined up to get cash from an A.T.M. in a mall in Moscow

Russia-Ukraine talks to begin on Monday morning

Talks between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations will begin in the morning on Monday, a source told TASS.

“It is not a postponement. The meeting will begin in the morning. The reason is the Ukrainian delegation’s logistics,” the source added.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 5

Australia imposes sanctions on Russian president, top government officials

The Australian authorities have imposed sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and a number of top government officials, the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in a statement.

“From midnight last night, Australian targeted financial sanctions and travel bans came into effect on the Russian president and remaining permanent members of Russia’s Security Council: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and Internal Affairs Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev,” the statement reads.

The Australian government announced it will provide lethal military equipment to Ukraine to help it resist the Russian invasion but gave no details on what material it may be sending.

Australia has imposed sanctions on more than 350 Russian individuals since Thursday. It has also targeted with sanctions 13 individuals and entities in Belarus, including that country’s Defence Minister, Viktor Khrenin.

Ukraine calls on WHO to stop cooperating with Russia

The Ukrainian Health Ministry “calls on the [World Health Organization] (WHO) to stop any cooperation and information exchange with the Russian Federation”. The Ukrainian officials accused the Russian forces of “crimes against humanity.”

Turkey’s cabinet chaired by Erdogan to discuss closure of straits for Russian warships

The Turkish cabinet chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will discuss Ukraine’s demand to close the Black Sea straits to Russian warships on Monday, the NTV broadcaster reported.

Ankara is set to restrict the access of Russian warships to the Black Sea over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

“It is not a couple of air strikes now, the situation in Ukraine is officially a war… We will implement the Montreux Convention,” the official told CNN Turk in a live interview.

“Turkey will implement all provisions of Montreux Convention in a transparent manner,” he added.

UN Security Council votes to send Ukraine issue to General Assembly

The UN Security Council voted to send the Ukraine issue to the UN General Assembly for a Special Emergency Session due to a permanent member deadlock in the council.

Russia vetoed a US resolution to condemn Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine claims successful drone attacks against Russian forces

The Ukrainian military has claimed successful attacks by its Turkish-made force of drones against Russian forces.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine released footage showing the destruction of armor by a drone, and said it was carried out against a Russian BUK surface-to-air missile system.

Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief, stated the drone attack took place near the town of Malyn, 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) northwest of Kyiv.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 5

Satellite images show large unit of Russian troops near Kyiv

As Ukrainians continue to repel Russian advances around Kyiv, new satellite images show a more than 3-mile-long Russian military convoy is on a roadway that heads toward the capital city.

According to Maxar, the convoy was seen on satellite images on Sunday on the P-02-02 road near Ivankiv, which is about 40 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of the Ukrainian capital. The P-02-02 road goes toward Kyiv.

Maxar identified fuel and logistical trucks, in addition to tanks, infantry vehicles and self-propelled artillery moving in the convoy.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 5

Mayor of southern Ukrainian city says Russians have taken control

Oleksandr Svidlo, the acting mayor of Berdyansk on Ukraine’s southern coast, has confirmed that Russian forces have entered and taken control of the city.

Berdyansk, which has a small naval base, has a population of about 100,000.

UN Security Council votes to send Ukraine issue to General Assembly

The UN Security Council voted to send the Ukraine issue to the UN General Assembly for a Special Emergency Session due to a permanent member deadlock in the council.

Russia vetoed a US resolution to condemn Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine.

Kiev mayor says Ukrainian capital is encircled

The Ukrainian capital has been encircled and the evacuation of civilians is impossible now, Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday.

“We can’t do that, because all ways are blocked,” Klitschko stated in reply to a question if there were plans to evacuate civilians from Kiev.

“Right now we are encircled,” he confirmed.

“I just talked to the president (of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky). Everybody is not feeling so well,” Klitschko noted.

The mayor admitted that the capital’s authorities were not in full control of volunteer battalions of territorial defense, who had been provided with weapons.

“To be honest, we don’t have 100% control,” Klitschko continued, adding, “We built this territorial defense in a short amount of time — but these are patriotic people.”

CEOs of Google, YouTube meet EU officials to discuss Ukraine

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