Thursday, February 29, 2024

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 6

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.

Official: Ukrainian air force targeting Russian columns but Moscow dominates the skies

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour the country’s air force is targeting Russian military columns headed toward Ukrainian cities.

“We are using our air forces to destroy columns headed towards our cities,” he said in a TV interview.

When asked what further help Ukraine needs from the US and NATO, Kuleba replied “air force and anti-missile defense, and weapons.”

“The problem is Russia dominates in the sky. Our pilots are fighting fiercely against them, but we also have losses. So the Russians use their fighting jets and bombers to attack our cities and we need to counter this threat. This are the two most urgent requests that we lodged with our partners,” he added.

“We are fighting in the air, but physically Russia has more planes to deploy to Ukraine than we have. So that’s why we put such an emphasis on air defense and air force, and also missile defense,” he told Amanpour, adding “we need better protection from the sky.”

Kuleba said he cannot speak specifically about whether Ukraine’s air force is also hitting the 40-mile Russian convoy around Kyiv.

US officials say Russian aircraft will be banned from American airspace

President Joe Biden will announce that the United States will ban Russian aircraft from flying through American airspace, following moves by the European Union and Canada to shut airspace to passenger flights from Russia and to planes used by Russian oligarchs, two administration officials say.

Former Russian FM calls on country’s diplomats to resign in protest over Ukraine war

Former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev has called on Russian diplomats to resign in protest over the war in Ukraine.

“I call on all Russian diplomats to resign in protest,” he tweeted, adding, “Dear Russian diplomats, you are professionals and not cheap propagandists.”

Kozyrev was foreign minister from 1991 to1996 under President Boris Yeltsin.

European Parliament recommends giving Ukraine EU candidate status

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Tuesday calling on the European Union institutions “to work towards granting” Ukraine the status of EU candidate country, it said in a statement.

The resolution, which also demanded the EU to impose “tougher sanctions” on Russia, was voted in favor by 637 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). It condemned “in the strongest possible terms Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and demands that the Kremlin end all military activities in the country.”

Military strike in town west of Kyiv tears through multiple apartment blocks

A Russian military strike in the small Ukrainian town of Borodjanka tore through two apartment blocks, videos on social media show.

Borodjanka, located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the center of Kyiv, is the latest civilian area facing a hail of Russian munitions as President Vladimir Putin’s forces advance on the capital.

Britain introduces new sanctions against Russia & bans Russian ships from UK ports

The United Kingdom on Tuesday introduced new sanctions against Russia, including a ban on ships with Russian connections from accessing British ports, the government announced in a statement.

Ford suspends operations in Russia until further notice

Ford is suspending their operations in Russia, effective immediately, the company announced. The motor company has a 50% stake in Ford Sollers, a joint venture between the American automaker and Russian company Sollers.

Boeing will suspend support for Russian airlines

Aerospace company Boeing will suspend support for Russian airlines, a company spokesperson confirmed to CNN.

Exxon quitting its last oil & gas project in Russia

ExxonMobil pledged Tuesday to leave its last remaining oil-and-gas project in Russia, and not to invest in new developments in the oil-rich nation.

Ukrainian official: Russian forces enter Kherson

Russian forces have entered the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, but Ukraine still controls the city administration building, Ukrainian interior ministry advisor Vadym Denysenko said on television.

Russia’s sporting freeze grows over Ukraine invasion

Russia has been frozen out by a snowballing list of sports following an appeal by the International Olympic Committee.

Russian teams were barred from competing in international ice skating, skiing, basketball, track, and some tennis events, a day after being kicked out of soccer competitions and hockey.

Russian and Belarusian tennis players were allowed to play on the ATP and WTA tours and at the Grand Slams, but without national flags.

The decisions followed the IOC’s request to international sports federations to keep Russian athletes out of events they organise.

Motorsport’s governing body FIA condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but said Russian and Belarusian drivers could still take part in its competitions in a neutral capacity.

US envoy says ‘now is not the time for the world to look away’

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US envoy to the United Nations, said Russian attacks have caused a “devastating loss of life” across Ukraine. “Now is not the time for the world to look away. Now is the time to act,” she wrote on Twitter.

Apple halts sales in Russia

Apple Inc said it has paused all product sales in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

UN says 677k fled Ukraine during Russia’s invasion

About 677,000 people have fled Ukraine in “less than a week” during Russia’s ongoing invasion, UN Refugee Agency Deputy High Commissioner Kelly Clements stated.

Zelenskyy tells Russia “just stop bombing” ahead of second talks

The Ukrainian president has stated Russia must stop bombing Ukrainian cities before meaningful talks on a ceasefire could start, as a first round of negotiations this week had yielded scant progress.

Setting out his conditions for further talks with Russia, Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Reuters and CNN in a joint interview: “It’s necessary to at least stop bombing people, just stop the bombing and then sit down at the negotiating table.”

UN head condemns Russia’s use of heavy weapons

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has condemned Russia’s use of heavy weapons in its attack on Ukraine, his spokesperson said.

“The secretary general is very concerned about the use of heavy weapons against urban centres in Ukraine,” Stephane Dujarric stated in New York, as Russia pummelled the Ukrainian capital Kiev and the country’s second-biggest city Kharkiv.

The UN Human Rights Council announced at least 136 civilians have been killed so far. Dujarric noted, however, that there was likely a high number of unreported cases.

Russian strikes on Kyiv’s TV tower kill five 

An attack by Russian forces on a television tower in Kyiv have killed five people, the Ukrainian emergency services said in a statement on television.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 6

Pentagon official says some Russian troops surrendering or sabotaging own vehicles

Plagued by poor morale as well as fuel and food shortages, some Russian troops in Ukraine have surrendered en masse or sabotaged their own vehicles to avoid fighting, a senior Pentagon official has claimed.

Some entire Russian units have laid down their arms without a fight after confronting surprisingly stiff Ukrainian defense, the official said.

A significant number of the Russian troops are young conscripts who are poorly trained and ill-prepared for the all-out assault. And in some cases, Russian troops have deliberately punched holes in their vehicles’ gas tanks, presumably to avoid combat, the official added.

US oil prices reach seven-year high after emergency release agreement

Oil prices surged to fresh seven-year highs on Tuesday as an agreement from countries around the world to release 60 million barrels of emergency oil failed to ease supply fears gripping energy markets.

The International Energy Agency announced Tuesday that member countries have agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from emergency reserves to send a “strong message to global oil markets that there will be no shortfall” as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. About half of that total – 30 million barrels – will come from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, sources told CNN.

The oil market was not impressed. US crude spiked about 10% Tuesday morning to an intraday high of $105.14 a barrel. That’s the highest level since 2014. Brent crude, the world benchmark, soared about 8% to $105.40 a barrel.

Canada bans Russian ships, fishing vessels

Canada bans Russian ships and fishing vessels from entering its ports and internal waters, Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra stated.

“Today… Omar Alghabra, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly, and the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard Joyce Murray, announced that the Government of Canada intends to ban Russian-owned or registered ships and fishing vessels in Canadian ports and internal waters. The ban is expected to be in effect later this week through orders made pursuant to the Special Economic Measures Act,” the statement read.

NATO FMs to hold an emergency meeting over Ukraine Friday

NATO foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Friday over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement released Tuesday, NATO announced the meeting will take place in person at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The meeting will be chaired by the alliance’s chief, Jens Stoltenberg.

Zelensky says he spoke with Biden

President Vladimir Zelensky stated that he had spoken with US President Joe Biden and discussed sanctions against Russia and defence assistance to Ukraine.

“Just had a conversation with POTUS. The American leadership on anti-Russian sanctions and defense assistance to Ukraine was discussed. We must stop the aggressor as soon as possible. Thank you for your support!” Zelensky wrote on Twitter.

US believes morale of Russian forces “is flagging” in some units

The US has “indications that morale is flagging in some” of the Russian forces’ units, a senior US defense official claimed.

“We have picked up independently on our own, indications that morale is flagging in some of these units. That they again did not expect the resistance that they were going to get, and that their own morale has suffered as a result,” the official said.

A significant number of the Russian military forces being used to invade Ukraine are “conscripts, very young men drafted into service,” the official continued.

“Apparently, again, we’re picking this up as best we can, but not all of them are apparently fully trained and prepared or even aware that they were going to be sent in to a combat operation,” the official added.

Map: Russian troops advance in these regions inside Ukraine

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 6

US claims over 400 missiles fired by Russia

The US has seen more than 400 missiles fired by Russia in the invasion of Ukraine as of this morning, according to a senior defense official.

The Ukrainians still have air missile defense systems that remain “viable and intact and engaged,” according to the official.

The official also noted that while Russia still has not achieved air superiority, “there are areas where they have more control than others.”

White House says oil reserve release meant to condemn “Putin’s war of choice”

The White House says the decision by the US and allies to release 60 million barrels from their oil reserves “is another example of partners around the world condemning Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and working together to address the impact of President Vladimir Putin’s war of choice.”

“President Joe Biden was clear from the beginning that all tools are on the table to protect American businesses and consumers, including from rising prices at the pump,” the White House announced in a statement following the Tuesday decision.

As part of the announcement, the US is committing to releasing 30 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. European and Asian nations are releasing another 30 million barrels.

Turkey calls for ceasefire, supports NATO enlargement

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has called on Ukraine and Russia to immediately stop fighting and to “contribute to world peace”, adding that Ankara is not opposed to NATO enlargement.

Zelensky urges Biden to give “useful” message in State of the Union address 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged US counterpart Joe Biden to give a strong and “useful” message about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, in an exclusive interview with CNN and Reuters from the bunker in Kyiv in which he is leading his military’s response.

“It’s very serious … I’m not in a movie,” Zelensky, a former comedy actor, told CNN.

“I’m not iconic, I think Ukraine is iconic … Ukraine is the heart of Europe, and now I think Europe sees Ukraine is something special for this world. That’s why [the] world can’t lose this something special,” he stated.

US says “heavy fighting” ongoing in and around Kharkiv

The US continues to see “heavy fighting in and around Kharkiv” and the area “remains heavily contested,” a senior US defense official told reporters.

In the southern part of the country, the US continues to see Russian forces make “more progress,” and have “more success down there, in terms of moving along their axes,” the official said.

The Russian forces are advancing on two axes in the south. From Crimea, there is one part that goes off to the northwest and one that goes to the northeast, the official added.

The Ukrainian city of Kherson appears “very much to be a contested city at this point,” the official said.

From the northeast, Russian forces are “still outside Mariupol” and “they have not advanced inside the city” yet, the official added.

“They are close enough now that they could attack Mariupol with long-range fires, and again we haven’t seen a whole lot of activity, but we don’t believe that they’re in Mariupol,” the official added.

The US does believe Russian forces are occupying Berdyansk and Melitopol, which is west of Berdyansk and further in from the coast of the Sea of Azov, the official said.

“Again if you draw that line from Mariupol to Kharkiv, we can see a continued desire from the Russians to sort of connect on those two lines, they haven’t made much progress, but we still believe that’s their intent,” the official continued.

Russian attack hits Kyiv television tower

Russian forces have attacked a television tower in Kyiv, potentially disrupting its signal, Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko claimed.

Local television channel 1+1 said work would be done to restore any lost signal.

The Kyiv Independent, a Ukrainian English-language news outlet based in the capital, said Ukrainian TV channels had stopped broadcasting following the attack.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 6

UK PM rules out deploying troops to battle Russian forces in Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the United Kingdom’s troops will not fight Russian forces in Ukraine, and that recent NATO reinforcements on the alliance’s eastern flank were firmly within the borders of its member states.

“These are nothing more than defensive measures, which have been the essence of NATO for more than 70 years,” Johnson stated during a visit to Estonia, where the UK has deployed additional troops.

“I want to be crystal clear finally, on that point, we will not fight Russian forces in Ukraine and our reinforcements like these reinforcements here in Tapa are firmly within the borders of NATO members and they are profoundly the right thing to do,” he added.

Moscow: NATO intelligences behind anti-Russian fake news about Ukraine operation

NATO intelligence services are behind the anti-Russian fake news about the Russian military operation in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed.

“A colossal stream of fakes… Now it’s all filling and flooding our information space. Moreover, I want to say that real intelligence agencies are behind this, not some invented ones… This is a colossal confrontation, which is undoubtedly guided and conducted by Brussels. This is, of course, the infrastructure of NATO, which is involved,” she stated.

Western sanctions have no legal basis and are not related to the current situation, she said.

“These measures have no legal basis, in fact they are not connected … with the current situation,” Zakharova added.

Kiev tells Washington it’s running out of stingers and javelins, asks for more

Kiev is close to running out of Stinger man-portable anti-aircraft missiles and Javelin anti-tank missiles, Ukraine’s ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova has told lawmakers in Washington.

Ukraine’s parliament says hospital building destroyed after fresh shelling in Kharkiv

Air raid sirens sound in Kyiv

Air raid sires have sounded in Kyiv after Russia warned it will strike sites in the capital belonging to Ukraine’s security service and a special operations unit.

US secretary of state floats kicking Russia off of UN Human Rights Council

As US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Russia’s human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law as it carries out its assault on Ukraine, he floated the idea of kicking Russia off of the UN Human Rights Council during a speech before the council on Tuesday morning.

“One can reasonably ask whether a UN member state that tries to take over another UN member state – while committing horrific human rights abuses and causing massive humanitarian suffering – should be allowed to remain on this council,” Blinken stated.

There are 47 member states on the council, which are elected by the UN general assembly, with Russia being one of them.

Blinken also criticized countries such as China who have not clearly stated that Russia is the sole perpetrator of this crisis.

UNHCR: Ukraine could become “Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century”

The situation in Ukraine could become “Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century” with more than 600,000 refugees believed to have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries so far, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said.

“UNHCR is mobilizing resources to respond as quickly and effectively as possible,” the statement added.

International law firms cutting ties with Russia in light of sanctions

At least 20 major international law firms have ties to or offices in Russia, and many are now faced with navigating or exiting those relationships, Reuters reports.

Kyiv mayor says “enemy is on outskirts” of Ukrainian capital

The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, warned in a video message that “the enemy is on the outskirts of the capital,” adding that the Ukrainian military is “preparing to defend Kyiv.”

“Our armed forces, Territorial Defense Forces, are fighting heroically for our land,” Klitschko said.

“Fortifications and checkpoints have been built at the entrances to the city. I ask everyone to keep calm. Do not go outside unnecessarily and stay in shelters in case of alarm,” he continued.

A massive 40-mile-long Russian military convoy — made up of armored vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and other logistical vehicles — has reached the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, according to satellite images from Maxar Technologies.

In an earlier video message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said defending Kyiv is the government’s “key priority.”

“Kyiv is special. If we protect Kyiv, we will protect the state. This is the heart of our country, and it must keep beating,” Zelensky added.

Echoing the president’s remarks, Klitschko stated that Russian Forces want to “take the heart of our country.”

“We will fight and we will not give Kyiv up,” he asserted.

Germany and Luxembourg express support for Ukraine

The leaders of Germany and Luxembourg expressed their support for the people of Ukraine during a joint news conference in Berlin.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to “immediately stop all combat operations, withdraw all Russian troops and return to dialogue.”

“The bloodshed has to come to an end. Vladimir Putin is offending the Ukrainian people,” Scholz added, noting, “These will be very dramatic times. The pictures with the many dead and injured, the destroyed buildings and infrastructure that we have had to bemoan are only a beginning of what is likely to come.”

Scholz announced that the EU is ready to adopt new sanctions packages against Russia.

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel echoed similar sentiments, “It is our damned duty to stand for the Ukrainian people.”

“You are not forgotten. You are not alone,” Bettel added, saying, “We must continue our diplomatic efforts. We must achieve a ceasefire, and without talks this will not be possible.”

DM: Russia preparing to launch large-scale information operation against Ukraine

Russia is preparing to launch a “large-scale information and psychological operation” against Ukraine, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov claimed.

“Its goal is to break the resistance of Ukrainians and the Ukrainian army with lies,” Reznikov said in a statement.

According to the defense minister, Russia has planned to create “communication problems” and to fabricate reports that Ukraine’s military and political leadership have “agreed to surrender” to the Russian Forces.

“As a ‘confirmation’ of this, fake — supposedly signed — documents as well as edited fake videos will be spread,” Reznikov continued.

“This is a lie. This won’t happen. There will be no surrender! Only victory,” he added

Official: EU must prepare for millions of refugees from Ukraine

The European Union must prepare for “millions” more refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the bloc’s commissioner for home affairs has said.

Speaking to reporters while on a visit to Slovakia, Ylva Johansson stated she hoped the European Council would activate the bloc’s temporary protection directive – a special mechanism aimed at giving protection to displaced persons – in the coming days.

She added officials were looking at deploying more people to assist the EU member states bordering Ukraine.

Hundreds of thousands of people have already passed from Ukraine into the bloc as they flee Moscow’s offensive.

UN scales up aid for Ukraine, appeals for $1.7bn

UN agencies have launched an emergency appeal to respond to the rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling for $1.7bn to help people who have fled the country and those still trapped inside.

“The crisis has turned very ugly very fast,” Martin Griffiths, the UN’s under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, told journalists at a press conference in Geneva. He called for compassion to match the scale of the crisis.

Filippo Grandi, the UN’s high commissioner for refugees, stated at the same briefing that 150,000 more people had fled Ukraine in the last 24 hours.

The rise means the total number of people who have sought safety in other countries since Moscow launched its assault now stands at nearly 680,000.

Kremlin on Paris’ remarks on total ‘financial war’ against Russia: Masks have been removed

Aggressive actions against Russia in the economic sphere have taken place before, but now “masks have been removed” and the measures have become ultra-concentrated, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on Paris’ words about the beginning of a “financial war” against Moscow.

“Now these aggressive actions against our country are of such an ultra-concentrated nature. But these actions, in fact, have taken place before. It’s just that they maybe weren’t visible to the naked eye. But experts are perfectly aware of all discriminatory measures, measures involving unfair competition, and so on. That is, this all has happened before. It’s just that now it’s all concentrated, extremely concentrated. Well, as they say, the masks have been removed,” Peskov told reporters.

The spokesman added that at the moment, consumers have been reacting hyper-emotionally to price increases, but this is just the first reaction.

Russian MoD plans strikes on Ukrainian intelligence, military info warfare relay facilities in Kiev

The Russian Ministry of Defence has announced plans to carry out precision strikes against Ukrainian Intelligence Service (SBU) and military information warfare facilities, and has warned employees and civilians in the affected areas to leave their homes to avoid casualties.

Von der Leyen: Europe’s fate ‘in the balance’ in Ukraine war

“The destiny of Ukraine is at stake, but our own fate also lies in the balance,” says the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

Borrell: EU must increase capacity to prevent war

The European Union must significantly increase its capacity to deter wars, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told EU lawmakers on Tuesday.

“One of the lessons that we have to learn from the invasion of Ukraine is that more than ever Europe must think strategically about itself, it’s environment and the world,” Borrell told an emergency session of the European Parliament.

“We need to increase our deterrence capacity in order to prevent war,” he stated.

Russian Armed Forces destroy 1,325 Ukrainian military facilities

The Russian Armed Forces have destroyed 1,325 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov claimed.

“The Russian Armed Forces have hit 1,325 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities, including 43 command and communications centers of the Ukrainian army,” he specified.

According to him, as many as 395 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 59 multiple rocket launchers, 179 artillery guns and mortars, and 286 special military motor vehicles have also been destroyed.

Make Moscow end its assault, Kyiv asks Beijing

Ukraine’s foreign minister has asked his Chinese counterpart for Beijing to use its ties with Moscow to stop Russia’s military invasion, according to the Ukrainian foreign ministry.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that Dmytro Kuleba had made the request during talks by phone with Wang Yi.

According to the statement, Wang told Kuleba Beijing was ready to make every effort to help end the war through diplomacy.

EU mulls disconnecting seven Russian banks from SWIFT

The European Union is considering an option to disconnect seven Russian banks (VTB, Rossiya, Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Sovcombank, VEB.RF) from the SWIFT messaging system, Bloomberg reported, citing a preliminary list.

Kremlin: US practice to impose sanctions has spread like a bacillus over EU

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the US practice to impose sanctions has spread like a bacillus over the EU. But he added that the restrictions will not make Russian politicians change the country’s position.

The prospects of Ukraine’s admission to the European Union should be viewed separately from the issues of strategic stability, Peskov stated, responding to a question about how Kiev’s EU bid was consistent with Moscow’s demands of Ukraine’s neutral status.

Reports accusing Russia of using cluster and vacuum munitions in the conflict in Ukraine are “false”, he noted.

President’s office: Kiev’s application for EU membership accepted and being considered

Ukraine’s application for EU membership under the accelerated procedure has been accepted, registered and is being considered, Head of the Office of the Ukrainian President Andrey Yermak stated.

Second round of Moscow-Kiev talks may take place on Wednesday

The second round of the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine on the Belarusian-Polish border may be held on 2 March, Belarusian political expert Yury Voskresensky, who is close to the talks’ co-organizers, told Sputnik.

“According to my preliminary information, negotiations should take place tomorrow,” Voskresensky stated.

The expert noted that the meeting should take place near the Belarusian-Polish border, with delegations’ members starting to arrive in Belarus on Tuesday evening.

Russia blocks foreign investments from leaving the country

Russia is temporarily halting the exit of foreign investments from the country, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced on Tuesday. The move comes in response to Russian capital being frozen abroad by the US, EU and their allies.

Thousands of Russian tourists stranded after flight bans

Thousands of travelers had their flights home canceled after the EU and Canada closed their airspace to Russia airlines in response to Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.

More than 27,000 tourists were left stranded in Europe, the Caribbean, the US, and other places, according to a statement by the Travel Agencies’ Association of Russia.

Kadyrov confirms Chechen casualties in Ukraine

The head of the Chechen Republic of Russia has confirmed casualties among soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

UN official estimates one million people displaced within Ukraine 

The UN refugee agency’s (UNHCR) representative in Ukraine has estimated that about a million people have been displaced in the country as a result of Russia’s invasion.

“We estimate that it has to be about one million people who have fled internally or who are currently on a train, a bus or in a car trying to get to a safety,” Karolina Lindholm Billing told a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

She cautioned that the agency still did not have reliable figures.

EU to seriously look at Ukraine’s ‘legitimate’ request for membership

European Union institutions and governments will have to seriously look at Ukraine’s “legitimate” request for membership of the bloc, the chairman of EU leaders Charles Michel has said.

Michel noted however that while Ukraine’s application was “symbolic”, there was no unity on the issue of enlargement in the 27-nation bloc.

“It is going to be difficult, we know there are different views in Europe,” Michel told told a special sitting of the European Parliament in Brussels.

“The council (of EU governments) will have to seriously look at the symbolic, political and legitimate request that has been made and make the appropriate choice in a determined and clear-headed manner,” he added.

Ukraine president addresses European parliament

Speaking via videolink, he President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainians are paying the “ultimate price’ by defending freedom.”Without you, Ukraine is going to be lonesome.

We have proven our strengths. We are exactly the same as you,” he told the European parliament.

“So prove that you are with us. Prove that you will not let us go. Prove that you indeed are Europeans and that life will win over death, and light will win over darkness,” he added.

Ukraine, he said, was paying a very high price for European ideals, adding, “Thousands of people killed, two revolutions, one war and five days of full-scale invasion”.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 6

Ukrainian official: At least 10 killed in latest rocket strikes on Kharkiv

At least 10 people were killed and 35 others wounded in rockets strikes by Russian forces on the centre of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko has said.

“The rubble is being cleared and there will be even more victims and wounded,” Herashchenko added.

The reported deaths on Tuesday came after at least 11 people were killed on Monday by an earlier spate of Russian rocket strikes on Kharkiv, according to Ukrainian officials.

There was no response from Moscow to either of the claims.

Diplomats walk out as Russian FM addresses UN

Representatives from Europe and other allies walked out during a video link address by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Tuesday.

UK: Russia becoming a ‘global pariah’

Foreign secretary Liz Truss has said that Russia was becoming a “global pariah” since Moscow launched an invasion of Ukraine last week and urged countries to isolate it further.

“…We are working to squeeze the Putin regime harder and harder by steadily tightening the vice,” Truss told the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of “violating human rights on an industrial scale”.

“I urge nations to condemn Russia’s appalling actions, and isolate it on the international stage,” she added.

TotalEnergies stays put in Russia, but no capital for new projects

TotalEnergies condemned what it called Moscow’s military aggression in Ukraine but stopped short on Tuesday of joining rivals Shell and BP in planning to exit positions in resource-rich Russia.

The French oil major, which holds a 19.4% stake in Novatek, Russia’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas, said it “will no longer provide capital for new projects in Russia”.

“TotalEnergies supports the scope and strength of the sanctions put in place by Europe and will implement them regardless of the consequences (currently being assessed) on its activities in Russia,” it added.

UK passes law to ban Russian-linked ships from its ports

The UK government has announced it has passed a law that would ban all ships that have any connection to Russia from entering its ports.

Britain had said on Monday that it wanted all ports to refuse entry to ships that were Russian flagged, registered or controlled while it drew up new legislation.

“We’ve just become the first nation to pass a law involving a total ban of all ships with any Russian connection whatsoever from entering British ports,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter.

Russian security official slams French threat of ‘economic war’

Ex-president and top Russian security official Dmitry Medvedev has warned Western officials to “watch their tongues” after France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire promised to wage an economic war against Russia.

“Today, some French minister has said that they declared an economic war on Russia. Watch your tongue, gentlemen! And don’t forget that in human history, economic wars quite often turned into real ones,” Medvedev tweeted.

Turkey urges respect for Black Sea straits pact after closing access

Turkey is calling on all sides in the Ukraine crisis to respect an international pact on passage through the Turkish straits to the Black Sea, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar was cited as saying after Ankara closed access to the waterway.

Akar has told his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu of the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine for humanitarian reasons.

UN refugee agency says over 660,000 people have fled Ukraine

More than 660,000 people, mostly women and children, have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries since Russia invaded, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says.

UNHCR spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo told a news briefing in the Swiss city of Geneva that there were reports of people waiting for up to 60 hours to enter Poland, while queues at the Romanian border are up to 20km (12 miles) long.

Ukrainian leader: Defending Kyiv is “key priority”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stated the protection of the country’s capital, Kyiv, is the “key priority” for the state.

“Kharkiv and Kyiv are currently the most important targets for Russia. Terror is meant to break us. To break our resistance. They are heading to our capital, as well as to Kharkiv,” he said in a Facebook message Tuesday.

“Kyiv is special. If we protect Kyiv, we will protect the state. This is the heart of our country. And it must keep beating. And it will keep beating, so that life triumphs,” he added.

In his message to Ukrainians, Zelensky also described Tuesday’s attack on the central square in Kharkiv as an act of terror.

“This is terror against the city, this is terror against Kharkiv, terror against Ukraine. There was no military target on the square,” Zelensky said, adding, “The rocket to the central square is outright, undisguised terror. No one will forgive. Nobody will forget. This strike on Kharkiv is a war crime.”

“We call on all countries of the world to respond immediately and effectively to this criminal tactic of the aggressor and to declare that Russia is committing state terrorism. We demand full responsibility for terrorists in international courts,” Zelensky stressed.

UN reports 136 civilian deaths, including 13 children

At least 136 civilians, including 13 children, have been killed and 400 others wounded since Russia launched its invasion, a spokeswoman for the UN human rights office (OHCHR) has stated.

“The real toll is likely to be much higher,” Liz Throssell told a news briefing.

President: Poland not sending planes to Ukraine because NATO is not party to conflict

Poland is not a party to the conflict in Ukraine and does not send its planes there, Polish President Andrzej Duda said after meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

NATO urges Russia to end war in Ukraine immediately

NATO’s Chief Jens Stoltenberg has called on Moscow to end the war in Ukraine and withdraw all of Russia’s forces but reiterated the alliance will not send troops or combat jets to support Kyiv as it does not want to become part of the conflict.

“The Russian assault is totally unacceptable and it is enabled by Belarus,” Stoltenberg said after meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

“NATO is a defensive alliance, we do not seek conflict with Russia. Russia must immediately stop the war, pull all its forces from Ukraine and engage in good faith in diplomatic efforts,” he added.

Johnson says invasion of Ukraine is “worse than our predictions”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is worse than he expected it to be, adding that Europe is now witnessing an “unfolding disaster.”

“I’m afraid to say that the tragedy that we predicted has come to pass and, if anything, it is worse than our predictions. We are seeing an unfolding disaster in the European continent,” Johnson stated.

“It is clear that Vladimir Putin is prepared to use barbaric and indiscriminate tactics against innocent civilians to bomb tower blocks, to send missiles into tower blocks, to kill children, as we’re seeing in increasing numbers,” he continued.

More than 20 injured in Kharkiv strike

More than 20 people have been injured in an explosion in Ukraine’s second biggest city, Kharkiv, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said in a video posted on its official Facebook account Tuesday.

“As a result of artillery shelling, a state administration building and adjacent building were damaged. People are trapped under the rubble. The head of rescue operations has learned that over 20 people have been wounded,” a service member stated in the video.

“There are eight emergency rescue squads on site working, with 80 staff and volunteers sorting the debris, dragging it away to find the injured and the dead. Work continues,” he added.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 6

Lithuania’s president: “No country in Europe can feel safe” when it comes to Putin

Lithuania President Gitanas Nausėda warned that no country in Europe “can feel safe” when it comes to President Vladimir Putin, as the Russian invasion in Ukraine entered its sixth day.

“No country in the European Union [EU], in Europe can feel safe right now. Yes, Ukraine is target number one, but if we cannot support Ukraine, if Ukraine will fall — be sure that we’ll be next, that Russia will stay at our doors,” Nausėda told CNN when asked if Putin could turn his attention to the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia at some point.

Russia: Presence of US nuclear weapons in Europe unacceptable

Russia considers the presence of US nuclear weapons in a number of European states unacceptable, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in his video address to the Geneva conference on disarmament, adding that the US nuclear weapons must have long been returned back to American soil.

Ukraine’s tragedy is the result of its Western handlers condoning the criminal regime that had shaped in Kiev, Lavrov stated.

He claimed Kyiv has been seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, telling the disarmament meeting that this is a real danger that Moscow needed to prevent.

The West must not build military facilities in any countries of the former Soviet Union, Lavrov continued.

The EU states are trying to get away from an honest and direct dialogue, choosing the path of unilateral illegitimate sanctions, he continued.

Kremlin: No immediate plans for Putin-Zelensky talks

There are no immediate plans to organize talks between Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Vladimir Zelensky of Ukraine, according to Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov.

Indian student killed by Russian shelling in Kharkiv

An Indian student has been killed by Russian shelling in Kharkiv, a spokesman for India’s ministry of external affairs has said.

Ukraine is home to thousands of international students, many of whom are attempting to flee the country amid Russia’s offensive.

UK adds Sberbank to its sanctions list

Sberbank was included in the UK sanctions list updated on Tuesday. Restrictive measures have been introduced against the bank’s correspondent accounts, and clearing operations in pounds sterling were also banned.

According to the statement, Sberbank, being Russia’s largest bank in terms of assets, is an exceptionally significant player in the Russian financial services sector, strategically important to the Russian government.

On Monday, Otkritie, Sovcombank, and VEB were also included in the UK sanctions list. According to the document, the UK is freezing their assets for “supporting the Russian government” and benefiting from cooperation with it.

Russia to pursue Ukraine offensive until all ‘goals achieved’

Russia will continue the offensive in Ukraine until its “goals are achieved”, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has stated, almost a week into Moscow’s invasion.

“Russian armed forces will continue to conduct the special military operation until set goals are achieved,” Shoigu told at a press conference aired on state television.

He reiterated Moscow aims to “demilitarise and de-Nazify” Ukraine, as well as protect Russia from a “military threat created by Western countries”.

Ukrainian official says Russian forces laying siege to Kyiv & Kharkiv

Ukrainian presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych stated Russian forces are trying to lay siege to Kyiv and Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

Russian troops fired artillery at Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol overnight while the Ukrainian side shot down Russian military planes around the capital, Arestovych noted in a televised briefing.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 6
Kharkiv rattled by missiles

Russia stripped of hosting 2022 Volleyball World Championships

Russia has been stripped of hosting the Volleyball World Championships in August and September due to its invasion of Ukraine, governing body the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) announced.

Britain takes back ‘Putin regime change’ claim

Toppling Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is the goal of the new wave of international sanctions introduced in response to Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine, a spokesman for Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters. Downing Street later clarified that the spokesperson had “misspoken”.

UK intelligence indicates Russian advance on Kyiv has made little progress

Russia’s advance on Kyiv has made little progress in the past 24 hours due to logistical difficulties and the army has increased its use of artillery north of the capital, a British military intelligence update said.

“The Russian advance on Kyiv has made little progress over the past 24 hours probably as a result of continuing logistical difficulties,” the British defence ministry said in a military intelligence update.

“Russian forces have increased their use of artillery north of Kyiv and in vicinities of Kharkiv and Chernihiv. The use of heavy artillery in densely populated urban areas greatly increases the risk of civilian casualties,” it claimed

“Russia has failed to gain control of the airspace over Ukraine prompting a shift to night operations in an attempt to reduce their losses,” it added.

Ukraine says Russia shelling cities

An adviser to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia was deliberately shelling cities, including residential areas and civilian infrastructure, to spread panic among Ukrainians.

“The veil has come down. Russia is actively shelling city centres, launching direct missile and artillery strikes on residential areas and administration sites,” stated Ukrainian presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak.

“Russia’s goal is clear – mass panic, civilian casualties and damaged infrastructure. Ukraine is fighting honourably,” Podolyak added.

Separatist forces aim to encircle Mariupol today

A Russian-backed separatist leader in eastern Ukraine said his forces aimed to encircle the Ukrainian port of Mariupol on Tuesday, RIA news agency reported.

“The task for today is to directly encircle Mariupol,” it quoted Donetsk separatist leader Denis Pushilin as saying in a television interview.

Earlier, the mayor of the city stated it was under constant shelling.

YouTube blocks Russian channels RT and Sputnik across Europe

YouTube is blocking channels connected to Russian state-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik across Europe effective immediately, due to the situation in Ukraine, the company operated by Alphabet Inc’s Google, announced.

ISU: Russian and Belarusian athletes suspended from all international ice skating competitions

The International Skating Union (ISU) suspended Russian and Belarusian skaters from participating in all international ice skating competitions, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Skaters will be banned from participating in ISU championships and other events, the ISU announced in a statement.

Ukraine says NATO countries will supply warplanes

Three NATO countries will deliver more than 70 warplanes for the use of Ukraine, military representatives in Kiev announced.

According to a statement published on Facebook, Poland, Bulgaria, and Slovakia will provide over 70 Soviet-era MiG-29 and SU-25 aircraft that can be based at Polish airfields.

Biden: Public shouldn’t worry about nuclear war with Russia

President Joe Biden said he does not believe Americans have reason to be concerned about nuclear war amid tensions with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

France: Russia will face collapse of its economy

Russia will face the collapse of its economy as a result of Western sanctions punishing Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

The United States and its allies have imposed sanctions on Russia’s central bank, its top businesses, oligarchs and officials, including Vladimir Putin himself, and barred some Russian banks from the Swift international payments system.

“We are going to deliver a total economic and financial war against Russia,” Le Maire told France Info radio, adding, “We are going to provoke the collapse of the Russian economy.”

UK says those behind war crimes in Ukraine will be held to account

“This is turning into a much much more perilous misadventure for Vladimir Putin than I think he realised,” Dominic Raab told Sky News, adding, “I think we’ve been very clear that those that engage in war crimes will be held to account.”

Raab said that Britain would not seek to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, and said that the conflict would not be over even if Russia managed to occupy Kyiv.

Ukraine FM calls for more international sanctions against Russia

“Barbaric Russian missile strikes on the central Freedom Square and residential districts of Kharkiv. Vladimir Putin is unable to break Ukraine down. He commits more war crimes out of fury, murders innocent civilians,” Kuleba said on social media.

“The world can and must do more. INCREASE PRESSURE, ISOLATE RUSSIA FULLY,” he wrote.

At least 6 injured as blast destroys government building in Kharkiv

At least six people were injured, including a child, in an explosion in Ukraine’s second biggest city, Kharkiv, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said in a Telegram post.

The blast destroyed a government building, according to videos of the incident posted by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Ukrainian government officials.

Mayor: Mariupol being ‘pounded’ by Russian attacks

The mayor of Mariupol says Ukraine’s key southeastern port city is under constant shelling that has killed civilians and damaged infrastructure.

“We have had residential quarters shelled for five days. They are pounding us with artillery, they are shelling us with GRADS, they are hitting us with air forces,” Vadym Boichenko stated in a live broadcast on Ukrainian TV.

“We have civilian infrastructure damaged – schools, houses. There are many injured. There are women, children killed,” Boichenko added.

Lukashenko says Belarus won’t join Russian ‘operation’ in Ukraine

Belarus has no plans to join Russia’s “military operation” in Ukraine, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been quoted as saying by the Belarusian state news agency, Belta.

Lukashenko also denied Kyiv’s allegations that Russian troops were attacking Ukraine from Belarus’ territory, Belta reported.

Dozens of Ukrainian soldiers killed in Russian attack

A Ukrainian official has claimed a Russian artillery attack on a military unit in Okhtyrka, a city between Kharkiv and Kyiv, killed at least 70 Ukrainian soldiers.

Dmytro Zhyvytskyy, head of the Sumy Regional State Administration, posted photographs of the charred shell of a four-storey building and rescuers searching rubble.

Kharkiv is under attack again on Tuesday morning. Local TV footage on social media shows a rocket, bomb or missile going off outside a building identified by the Kyiv Independent as the regional government headquarters.

Taiwan to block Russian banks from SWIFT

Taiwan will join moves to block some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system “in lockstep” with Western countries, Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters.

Russia’s UN Envoy: Moscow has no plans to occupy Ukraine

Moscow has no plans to “occupy” Ukraine, and Russian forces do not pose any threat to Ukrainian civilians or civilian infrastructure, Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, has stated.

“The occupation of Ukraine is not part of our plans. The purpose of this special operation is to protect people [in the Donbass] who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years. For this, it is necessary to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine,” Nebenzya said, speaking at an emergency session of the UN General Assembly.

“We will also strive to bring to justice those who committed countless and bloody crimes against civilians, including citizens of the Russian Federation,” the envoy added.

Russia, before the start of the special military operation in Donbass, had gained information that Kiev was preparing an operation against Donbass, Nebenzya claimed.

Ayatollah Khamenei: Iran is for cessation of hostilities in Ukraine; US behind crisis

Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said Iran supports cessation of hostilities in Ukraine.

Ayatollah Khamenei however noted, “Resolving a crisis is only possible after the root-cause of that crisis is identified. The root-cause of the crisis in Ukraine is the US policies and those of Western countries.”

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 6

Air raid siren heard in several Ukrainian cities

There are reports of air-raid sirens in several Ukrainian cities on Tuesday morning as the nations braces itself for another day of bombing by Russian forces.

The Kyiv Independent media outlets says the sirens are going off in Rivne west of Kyiv, along with Ternopil, Vinnytsia and Volyn.

Ukraine military claims Russia is planning to use Belarus troops

Ukraine’s Armed Forces say Russia is planning to involve the “most trained military units” of the Belarusian army in its invasion.

Belarus previously denied the claim on Monday.

“Belarusian servicemen are carrying out tasks in accordance with the Armed Forces’ training plan for the 2021-2022 training year within Belarusian borders only and are not taking part in the special military operation in Ukraine,” the Belarusian Defense Ministry announced.

Russian invasion is behind schedule – US classified briefing

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has fallen behind schedule thanks to fierce local resistance, and multiple Russian equipment and logistics failures, according to a classified US government briefing attended by US senator Chris Murphy.

UK claims Russia shifts to night operations to reduce losses

UK intelligence claimed Russia has failed to gain control of airspace over Ukraine, prompting a shift to night operations to reduce their losses.

Russian forces ‘surround city of Kherson’

Russian troops have surrounded the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, according to a journalist and a local official.

“The city is actually surrounded, there are a lot of Russian soldiers and military equipment on all sides, they set up checkpoints at the exits,” Journalist Alyona Panina told Ukrainian 24 TV channel.

The city’s Mayor Igor Kolykhayev also said on Facebook that the “Russia army is setting up checkpoints at the entrances of Kherson”.

Kherson has a population of around 280,000 and lies north of the Crimea peninsula. Russia claimed to have besieged the city on Sunday.

Mastercard blocks several financial institutions over Russia sanctions

Mastercard has blocked multiple financial institutions from its payment network as a result of sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

The US credit card company did not say which institutions were blocked.

UN official: There are 520,000 refugees from Ukraine in neighboring countries

There are currently 520,000 refugees from Ukraine in neighboring countries and the figure has been rising “exponentially, hour after hour,” Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told the UN Security Council.

Grandi, who addressed the council via teleconference from Geneva, said he has worked in refugee crises for almost 40 years and has “rarely seen such an incredibly fast-rising exodus of people — the largest, surely, within Europe, since the Balkan wars.”

“Over 280,000 have fled to Poland. Another 94,000 to Hungary, nearly 40,000 are currently in Moldova; 34,000 in Romania, 30,000 in Slovakia; tens of thousands in other European countries. We are also aware that a sizeable number have gone to the Russian Federation,” Grandi stated.

“The situation is moving so quickly, and the levels of risk are so high by now, that it is impossible for humanitarians to distribute systematically the aid, the help that Ukrainians desperately need,” Grandi continued, adding, “Civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected and spared, and humanitarian access must be granted for those delivering aid to those impacted by war. A failure to do so will compound the already extraordinary levels of human suffering.”

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 6

Japan freezes assets of Russia’s central bank

Japan is joining the US and other allies in slapping additional sanctions on Russia, including freezing assets of the country’s leaders and three financial institutions.

Aside from those held by six individuals including President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Japan will freeze assets of Russia state-owned Promsvyazbank and Vnesheconombank, as well as the country’s central bank.

UN says at least 406 civilians have been reported hurt or killed in Ukraine

There have been at least 406 reported civilian casualties in Ukraine, including at least 102 killed just within the past few days, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said, citing numbers from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Griffiths addressed the UN Security Council via teleconference from Geneva on Monday, adding that the real number of civilian casualties “could be considerably higher, as many reported casualties have yet to be confirmed.”

“The picture is grim — and could get worse still. Aerial attacks and fighting in urban areas are damaging critical civilian facilities and disrupting essential services such as health, electricity, water and sanitation, which effectively leaves civilians without the basics for day-to-day life,” Griffiths added.

Presidents of 8 EU states call for negotiations on Ukrainian membership

The presidents of Estonia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia published an open letter urging the European Union (EU) to immediately grant Ukraine candidate country status and begin negotiations on its formal acceptance into the bloc.

Foreign students fleeing Ukraine say they face segregation, racism at border

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, foreign students attempting to leave the country say they are experiencing racist treatment by Ukrainian security forces and border officials.

Putin stripped of taekwondo black belt

World Taekwondo has stripped Russian President Vladimir Putin of his honorary taekwondo black belt over his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

It added that it would join the International Olympic Committee in banning the Russian flag and anthem at its events.

US Olympic & Paralympic Committee calls for complete ban on Russian & Belarusian athletes

The US Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has called for a “complete ban on international sport participation” for Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russia ‘continued shelling Ukraine during talks’

Ukraine’s president says Russian troops intensified shelling of Ukraine in an effort to force his government into making concessions during talks held earlier on Monday.

In a video address, Volodymr Zelensky stated that “the talks were taking place against the backdrop of bombing and shelling of our territory, our cities. Synchronizing of the shelling with the negotiating process was obvious. I believe Russia is trying to put pressure (on Ukraine) with this simple method”.

The president added Ukraine is not prepared to make concessions “when one side is hitting each other with rocket artillery.”

Zelenskyy noted that Kyiv, the capital, remains “a key goal” for the Russians and that Russian forces have also shelled the city of Kharkiv with rocket artillery.

Ukraine accuses Russia of war crimes

Kyiv’s Ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, says Russian troops are “attacking hospitals, mobile brigades and ambulances” in Ukraine.

“This is not the action of a state with a legitimate security concern,” Kyslytsya stated at a UN Security Council’s emergency meeting, adding, “This is the action of a state determined to kill civilians. There is no debate. These are war crimes.”

Ukraine claims Russia used a vacuum bomb

Oksana Markarova, Kyiv’s ambassador to the US, says Russia had used a vacuum bomb in Ukraine on Monday.

Also known as a thermobaric bomb, the weapon uses oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion, typically producing a blast wave of a significantly longer duration than that of a conventional explosive.

“They used the vacuum bomb today, which is actually prohibited by the Geneva convention,” Markarova stated after a meeting with US legislators, adding, “The devastation that Russia is trying to inflict on Ukraine is large.”

Canada to ban Russian oil imports, supply Ukraine with anti-tank weapons

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated his country will ban imports of Russian crude oil and supply Ukraine with anti-tank weapons and upgraded ammunition.

“We are announcing our intention to ban all imports of crude oil from Russia, an industry that has benefited President Putin and his oligarchs greatly,” he told reporters in Ottawa.

Canada will also step up “lethal aid” to Ukraine and will send 100 Carl Gustaf anti-tank weapon systems and 2,000 rockets “as quickly as possible,” noted Defence Minister Anita Anand.

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.

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.

International Criminal Court opens investigation into Russian invasion of Ukraine

The International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, will open an investigation into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “rapidly as possible,” ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan stated.

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.”

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.

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.

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 6

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.

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.”

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