Saturday, March 2, 2024

Live Update: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 265

Russia, wary of NATO’s eastward expansion, began a military campaign in Ukraine on February 24 after the Western-leaning Kiev government turned a deaf ear to Moscow’s calls for its neighbor to maintain its neutrality. In the middle of the mayhem, Moscow and Kiev are trying to hammer out a peaceful solution to the conflict. Follow the latest about the Russia-Ukraine conflict here:

Blast kills two in Poland near Ukraine border

Two people have been killed in an explosion in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, firefighters have said.

“Firefighters are on the spot, it’s not clear what has happened,” stated Lukasz Kucy, officer on duty at a nearby firefighters’ post.

Polish Radio ZET reported earlier that two stray missiles hit Przewodow killing two people, without giving any more details.

The reports came as Russia was pounding cities across Ukraine with missiles, in attacks that Kyiv announced were the heaviest wave of missile strikes in nearly nine months of war.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called an urgent meeting of a government committee for national security and defense affairs, the government spokesman wrote on Twitter.

Moldova reports power cuts due to Russian strikes on Ukraine

Moldova has announced it is experiencing electricity outages as a result of Russian strikes on energy infrastructure in neighbouring Ukraine and called on Moscow to stop its attacks.

“Every bomb falling on Ukraine is also affecting Moldova and our people. We call on Russia to stop the destruction now,” Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu wrote on Twitter.

More than a dozen Ukrainian regions report power outages

At least a dozen regions — among them Lviv in the west, Kharkiv in the northeast and others in between — have reported power outages, affecting cities that together have millions of people.

Almost half of the Kyiv region lost power, authorities confirmed. Ukrainian Railways announced nationwide train delays.

Most of the hits were recorded in the center and in the north of the country. In the capital, the situation is very difficult,” senior official Kyrylo Tymoshenko said.

He added a total of 15 energy targets were damaged and claimed that 70 missiles were shot down

85 missiles have been fired at Ukraine so far Tuesday: Zelensky

In a brief video message Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “85 missiles strikes have been launched on Ukrainian cities, mostly on energy infrastructure.”

“We can see what the enemy wants, they will not succeed. We may yet have 20 more strikes, please look after yourselves, stay in shelter for some time,” he stated.

“I know that the strikes have caused power outages in many cities of our country. We are working to restore them. We will withstand,” the president added.

Amid a barrage of Russian missile attacks against Ukraine Tuesday, at least seven cities have been struck. This wave of missile attacks on areas across Ukraine is the first this month, after several devastating rounds in October.

Ukraine’s FM says missile attacks are Russia’s answer on peace talks

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated that Tuesday’s Russian attacks across shows what Russia thinks about any possible peace negotiations.

“Russian missiles are killing people and ruining infrastructure across Ukraine right now,” Kuleba said on Twitter.

Amid reports of Russian missile strikes in multiple locations across Ukraine, Kuleba added: “This is what Russia has to say on the issue of peace talks. Stop proposing Ukraine to accept Russian ultimatums! This terror can only be stopped with the strength of our weapons & principles.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnky earlier Tuesday outlined a 10-point peace plan to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a video speech to G20 leaders in Bali, Indonesia.

‘We will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes’: US

The US condemns the latest airstrikes on Ukraine and says, “We will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes”.

In a statement by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, it reads: “The United States strongly condemns Russia’s latest missile attacks against Ukraine, which appear to have struck residential buildings in Kyiv and additional sites across the country.”

“It is not lost on us that, as world leaders meet at the G-20 in Bali to discuss the issues of significant importance to the lives and livelihoods of people around the world, Russia again threatens those lives and destroys Ukraine’s critical infrastructure” it continued.

“These Russian strikes will serve to only deepen the concerns among the G‑20 about the destabilizing impact of Vladimir Putin’s war,” it added.

“Our thoughts are with the brave Ukrainian people, who continue to demonstrate resilience and courage in their defence of their sovereignty and democracy. The United States and our allies and partners will continue to provide Ukraine with what it needs to defend itself, including air defence systems,” it noted.

Kyiv urges for a ‘principled’ response from G20 leaders

Kyiv urges G20 leaders to issue a “principled” response to Russia after a new wave of air raids plunges the country into darkness.

Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs, Dmtryo Kuleba, tweeted, “Russia is hitting peaceful Ukrainian cities with deadly missiles. Apartment buildings, energy infrastructure facilities are being hit. Looking forward to a principled reaction of G20 org summit.”

“And please avoid ‘calling on both sides’. Take the side of people, not war criminals,” he stressed.

At least half of customers have no electricity in Kyiv after Russian strikes force emergency outages

Multiple Russian cruise missiles targeted power infrastructure in several Ukrainian regions Tuesday, leaving the supply of electricity in a critical condition, according to senior Ukrainian officials.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said on Telegram that “Russian terrorists have conducted another planned attack on energy infrastructure facilities. The situation is critical.”

“Most hits were recorded in the center and north of the country. The situation in the capital is extremely difficult, special emergency shutdown schedules are being introduced,” he added.

DTEK — a power supplier in the Kyiv region — announced that “due to the missile attacks from the Russian Federation, by the order of NPC Ukrenergo [the state power company], we are forced to start emergency power outages. This is a necessary step to balance the power system and avoid equipment failures.”

“Please continue to consume electricity moderately!” DTEK noted.

Kyiv Mayor Vitalii Klitschko also stated that power engineers are beginning emergency power outages in the capital.

He added that at least half of consumers have no electricity.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote on Twitter that “Russian terrorists have once again shown their so-called willingness to negotiate today. Another massive missile attack during #G20Summit. Residential buildings were hit. They are trying to destroy energy infrastructure.”

Ukrainian internet connectivity down by 1/3 amid Russian missile strikes: Cybersecurity firm

Netblocks, which tracks cybersecurity and connectivity around the world, says that Ukraine “is currently experiencing a major internet disruption.”

Netblocks tweeted that “live metrics show national connectivity at 67% of previous levels; the incident comes amid reports of one of the most intense Russian missile attacks to date.”

Power supplies have been disrupted in several Ukrainian regions by Tuesday’s missile strikes.

Russia launched ‘around 100’ missiles: Ukraine’s air force spokesperson

According to Kyiv, Russian forces launched “around 100” missiles against Ukraine in a wave of attacks targeting energy infrastructure that led to power outages and forced shutdowns.

“Around 100 missiles have already been launched. The occupiers surpassed October 10, when they launched 84 missiles,” air force spokesman Yuri Ignat told Ukrainian television.

“Critical infrastructure facilities are their primary target. Some missiles were shot down, but information on that needs to be clarified,” he added.

Situation in Ukraine is ‘critical’ after Russian air strikes: Ukrainian presidency

The Ukrainian presidency says the situation across the country is “critical” after a wave of Russian air strikes that left large parts of the country in the dark.

The deputy head of the president’s office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said “Russian terrorists carried out another planned attack on energy infrastructure facilities. The situation is critical.”

“The situation in the capital is extremely difficult”, he added.

Russia shows a ‘rational’ and ‘responsible’ attitude to nuclear war: China

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, during a meeting at the Group of 20 (G20) summit that Russia’s position that a nuclear war should not be fought showed a “rational” and “responsible” attitude.

Wang added during the meeting with Lavrov that China was pleased to see Russia signal its willingness to engage in dialogue over Ukraine and agree to resume the Black Sea grain-export deal, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement.

“China is willing to work with Russia to push forward their high-level exchanges and communication in various fields, deepen bilateral practical cooperation and facilitate personnel exchanges,” Wang was quoted as saying by the state news agency Xinhua.

Kremlin calls UNGA resolution on Ukraine reparations a “formalization of this robbery”

The United Nations resolution on reparations for Ukraine has been labeled a “formalization” of “robbery” by the Kremlin.

On Monday, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in support of a resolution that states Russia should be held accountable for violating international law through its invasion of Ukraine.

The meeting of the UNGA in New York saw 94 countries vote in favor of the resolution, while 14 voted against, 73 abstained and 12 were not present.

UNGA resolutions are nonbinding but carry symbolic weight.

“The organizers of this process are trying to complete the robbery of our reserves, which were illegally blocked. This is a formalization of this robbery using the UN platform,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during a regular conference call with journalists on Tuesday.

The UN decision is not legally binding and Moscow “will treat it accordingly,” Peskov added.

Russian FM: Future of Black Sea grain deal depends on existing conditions being met

The future of the vital Black Sea grain deal depends on existing terms being met, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday.

The agreement guarantees safe passage for ships carrying grain exports from Ukraine, which are key to global food supplies, but is due to expire at the end of this month.

The first term, Lavrov stated, is “the export of Ukrainian grain and it is taking place after the Ukrainian Armed Forces used the humanitarian corridor for grain exports for military means.”

Russia withdrew from the deal at the end of October, citing drone attacks on the city of Sevastopol in occupied Crimea as the reason for its withdrawal from the deal.

Russia blamed Ukraine for the Sevastopol attacks. Ukraine has not confirmed that its forces attacked the city.

“We suspended this operation, but then Ukrainians confirmed that they won’t do this again. So, our Turkish colleagues and Western colleagues understand that they need to stop Ukraine from doing these things,” Lavrov added.

The second term, according to Lavrov, is to “remove barriers to the export of Russian grain.”

Lavrov praised United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who he said was doing “all he can.”

“But, it has been five months now and no real results have been achieved,” Lavrov continued, noting that “this isn’t about promises. We need to see some action”.

“The Secretary General of the UN assures us citing his Western colleagues that all the economic operators that are securing the logistical chains of fertilizer and grain supplies from Russia are assuring him that no sanctions will be imposed on the implementation of trade agreements for our grain, including the entry of Russian ships into European ports, and the entry of foreign ships into our ports,” stated Lavrov.

Lavrov said that he hopes that the UN will keep its promises, especially since Guterres himself “said it is a matter of principle,” according to Lavrov.

The agreement put in place a procedure that guaranteed the safety of ships carrying Ukrainian grain, fertilizer and other food stuff through a humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea.

Under the deal, all vessels coming to and from Ukraine’s ports were inspected and monitored by international teams made up of officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN

Moscow has seen Zelensky’s peace proposal but believes Ukraine doesn’t want to negotiate: Kremlin

Moscow has seen the peace proposal by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky but believes Kyiv doesn’t want to negotiate, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated on Tuesday.

“[We] have seen [it],” Peskov said when asked by journalists during a regular conference call.

“We state the main thing here — that the position both de facto and de jure of the Ukrainian side indicates that Ukraine cannot and does not want to negotiate,” he added.

Peskov reiterated that Russia will continue reaching its goals by carrying out what it calls its “special military operation.”

Zelensky’s peace plan, which he presented at the G20 summit on Tuesday, has 10 steps, including a path to nuclear safety, food security, a special tribunal for Russian war crimes and a final peace treaty with Russia, according to the speech transcript.

Zelensky urged G20 leaders to use all their power to “make Russia abandon nuclear threats” and implement a price cap on energy imported from Moscow.

Lavrov again blames West and its allies for provoking Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

The West and its allies have provoked Russia’s actions in Ukraine, and not vice versa, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, using a familiar justification for Moscow’s invasion.

“The more they [the West and allies] talk about unprovoked aggression, the more everybody is convinced it was provoked by them,” Lavrov told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali on Tuesday.

“And it is not aggression, it is [an] operation to defend the legitimate interests of Russian security because of threats on Russia’s borders and to defend the Russian population in Donbas,” he added, using one of the Kremlin’s common propaganda lines.

Lavrov also accused NATO and the European Union of interfering in the war in Ukraine.

“I believe NATO and the European Union have long been participants in a hybrid war in Ukraine, hybrid conflict with their arms supplies and training servicemen, and helping with a large amount of intelligence, helping with targeting,” he said.

Despite speaking out against the West, Lavrov also told reporters that he had spoken to France’s President Emmanuel Macron, claiming that the French leader told Lavrov he wanted to keep talking to the Russian president.

“I spoke to President Macron and he confirmed his intention to continue contacts with President (Vladimir) Putin, to look for agreements that will allow a settlement to the situation,” said Lavrov.

“I reminded him, as I said, that all the problems are on the Ukrainian side, because of their categorical refusal of any negotiations,” he continued, adding, “They are putting forward conditions that are clearly unrealistic and inconsistent with the situation.”

In October, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree formally ruling out the possibility of negotiations with Putin. It was dated the day that Putin announced he would annex Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics — in violation of international law.

Last week, however, Zelensky told CNN’s Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour he had not completely ruled out peace negotiations with his counterpart in Moscow.

“I haven’t closed the door. I said we would be ready to talk to Russia – but with a different Russia. One that is truly ready for peace. One that is ready to recognize that they are occupiers … They need to return everything. Land, rights, freedom, money. And most importantly, justice,” he stated.

“And so far, I haven’t heard statements like that from the Russian Federation – either from Putin or from anyone else,” he added.

Russia “cannot continue existence in its current form”: Ukrainian official

Russia must “undergo political transformation” and “cannot continue existence in its current form,” a Ukrainian presidential adviser has stated.

“No need to be afraid of the truth,” Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter Tuesday.

“Russia cannot continue existence in its current form and ruling elites. Russia must lose, be punished for neglecting international law and undergo political transformation. The sooner everyone understands this, the fewer victims there will be,” he wrote on Twitter.

In October, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree formally ruling out the possibility of negotiations with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Speaking with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour last week, Zelensky said that “other than ultimatums, I’ve not heard anything from the current president of the Russian Federation.”

“But I haven’t closed the door. I said we would be ready to talk to Russia – but with a different Russia. One that is truly ready for peace. One that is ready to recognize that they are occupiers … They need to return everything. Land, rights, freedom, money. And most importantly, justice,” he added.

Zelensky proposes total prisoner swap with Russia in G20 address

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky proposed an “all for all” prisoner swap with Russia during his virtual address to the G20 leaders in Bali on Tuesday, according to a transcript of his remarks shared by the Embassy of Ukraine in Indonesia.

“Thousands of our people — military and civilians — are in Russian captivity. They are subjected to brutal torture — this is mass abuse… we know by name 11,000 children who were forcibly deported to Russia,” Zelensky said.

“Add to that hundreds of thousands of deported adults, and you will see what a humanitarian catastrophe the Russian war has caused. Add political prisoners — Ukrainian citizens who are held in Russia and in the temporarily occupied territory, in particular in Crimea. We must release all these people … we must unite for the sake of the only realistic model of the release of prisoners — all for all,” he added.

The prisoner swap proposal is one of 10 areas outlined by Zelensky during his speech Tuesday on a path to end the war. They are:

  • Radiation and nuclear safety
  • Food security
  • Energy security
  • Release of prisoners and deportees
  • Implementation of the UN Charter
  • Withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities
  • Justice
  • Ecocide and the protection of the environment
  • Prevention of escalation
  • Confirmation of the end of the war

Xi warns against ‘weaponisation’ of food and energy

Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned the G20 against the “weaponisation” of food and energy, in a possible veiled criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We must firmly oppose politicisation, instrumentalisation and weaponisation of food and energy problems,” Xi told the summit in Bali, while also repeating his familiar opposition to Western sanctions policy.

Most G20 members strongly condemn war in Ukraine: Draft declaration

A draft of a declaration by leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) leading economies seen by the Reuters news agency strongly condemned the war in Ukraine.

It stressed it was exacerbating fragilities in the global economy.

“There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions,” said the draft declaration, which was confirmed by a European diplomat.

The declaration has yet to be adopted.

Zelensky: All critical infrastructure in Kherson destroyed under Russian occupation

All critical infrastructure in the city of Kherson was destroyed while under Russian occupation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Monday after visiting the city.

“This is what the Russian flag means — complete devastation. There is no electricity, no communication, no internet, no television. The occupiers destroyed everything themselves — on purpose. This is their special operation. Before the winter, the Russian occupiers destroyed absolutely all critical infrastructure. Absolutely all important facilities in the city and the region are mined,” Zelensky noted.

The Ukrainian president added that efforts are being made to return life to normal in Kherson.

Earlier on Monday, officials stated they were working to repair damaged bridges and restore Kherson’s electricity supply.

UN calls for Russia to be responsible for reparations in Ukraine

The United Nations General Assembly has called for Russia to be held accountable for its invasion of Ukraine, approving a resolution recognising that Russia is responsible for reparations in the country.

The resolution, supported by 94 of the assembly’s 193 members, recognises that Russia must be held accountable for violations of international law in or against Ukraine and “must bear the legal consequences of all of its internationally wrongful acts, including making reparation for the injury, including any damage, caused by such acts”.

General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, but they carry political weight.

Ukrainian commander tells US counterpart Russia must leave all occupied areas as condition for negotiations

The Commander of Ukrainian forces, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, stated he has reiterated to his US counterpart, General Mark Milley, that Ukraine’s “goal is to liberate the entire Ukrainian land from Russian occupation.”

Zaluzhnyi said he had told General Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the “Ukrainian military will not accept any negotiations, agreements or compromise decisions. There is only one condition for negotiations – Russia must leave all the occupied territories.”

Zaluzhnyi added he had told Milley that the situation at the front is stable and controlled.

“We closely monitor the actions of the enemy on the border with the Republic of Belarus and build a reliable shield to protect Ukraine from the north,” he noted on his Telegram channel.

“Defense forces, despite the fierce resistance of the occupation troops, continue offensive actions in the Kharkiv sector,” he added.

Zaluzhnyi said Russian forces were actively attacking along several fronts in the Donetsk region, but were unsuccessful.

Russia becoming a “pariah state”: British PM

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday that Russia is becoming a “pariah state,” the UK’s PA news agency reported.

In comments made to reporters traveling with him to the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia — the first since Russia invaded Ukraine in February — Sunak stated it was “telling” that Putin would not attend the event, PA reported.

“It’s telling that Putin is not there. Russia is becoming a pariah state and he’s not there to take responsibility for what he’s doing,” Sunak told reporters.

When asked how he planned to interact with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the G20, Sunak said he was going to “take the opportunity to unequivocally condemn the Russian state and Putin for their abhorrent and illegal war.”

Russia bans entry to 100 Canadians, including actor Jim Carrey

Russia said on Monday that it was imposing entry bans on an additional 100 Canadian citizens, including American-Canadian actor Jim Carrey, in response to Canada’s sanctions on Moscow.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that it has added more Canadians to its “black list,” which contains hundreds of Western officials and notable individuals.

“In response to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s continued practice of imposing sanctions against the Russian leadership, politicians and parliamentarians, business representatives, experts and journalists, cultural figures, as well as anyone whom the Canadian ‘russophobic’ authorities consider objectionable, entry is closed to 100 citizens of Canada on the basis of reciprocity,” the statement read.

Moscow in March added Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the travel ban.

EU has delivered weapons and equipment worth $8bn to Ukraine: Top diplomat

The European Union and its member states have provided weapons and military equipment worth at least 8 billion euros ($8.27bn) to Ukraine, the bloc’s top diplomat stated.

This sum amounts to about 45 percent of what the United States has supplied to Kyiv, Josep Borrell told reporters after a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels.

US imposes new sanctions targeting Russian military’s supply chains

The US has imposed new sanctions aimed at disrupting the Russian military’s supply chains, rolling out measures against 14 people and 28 entities that it said were part of a transnational network that procures technology to support Moscow in its invasion of Ukraine.

The US Treasury also designated family members of Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov as well as individuals that it said worked as financial facilitators in Suleiman’s network.

“The United States will continue to disrupt Russia’s military supply chains and impose high costs on President Putin’s enablers, as well as all those who support Russia’s brutality against its neighbor,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

​​Canada to boost aid for Ukraine

Canada will provide Ukraine with another $500m in military assistance and has placed sanctions on nearly two dozen more Russians, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office has announced.

The additional funding adds to the $3.4bn of Canadian assistance to Kyiv so far for its defence against Russia’s invasion and will help fund military, surveillance and communications equipment; fuel; and medical supplies, Trudeau’s office said in a statement.

Monday’s sanctions target 23 Russians “involved in gross and systematic human rights violations against Russian opposition leaders”, including police officers, prosecutors, judges and prison officials, the statement added.

Ukraine expects $4.8bn in foreign financing in November: Finance minister

Ukraine expects to receive about $4.8bn in financing from abroad in November and another $3bn in December, its finance minister, Serhiy Marchenko, has told a news briefing.

Kyiv has relied heavily on foreign economic and military aid since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on February 24.

Biden: Ukrainian liberation of Kherson is “a significant, significant victory for Ukraine”

The Ukrainian liberation of Kherson “was a significant, significant victory for Ukraine,” President Joe Biden told reporters traveling with him to the G20 summit in Bali Monday.

He emphasized that any negotiations towards a ceasefire will require Ukraine have a seat at the table.

“First of all, it was a significant, significant victory for Ukraine – a significant victory – and I can do nothing but applaud the courage, determination and capacity of Ukrainian people and Ukrainian military. I mean, they’ve really been amazing,” Biden said.

“I’ve been very clear that we’re going to continue to provide the capability for the Ukrainian people to defend themselves – and we are not going to engage in any negotiation. There’s nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine, this is a decision Ukraine has to make,” he added.

During a news conference earlier Monday, Oleh Nikolenko, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said that Russia is “in no position” to be setting rules for negotiations.

“The peace formula for Ukraine remains unchanged: Immediate cessation of the war, withdrawal of all Russian troops, restoration of Ukrainian territorial integrity, damages reimbursement and provision of effective guarantees of non-repetition of aggression,” Nikolenko added.

Still, Biden noted Monday in Bali, he believes hostilities in the region will “slow down a bit because of the winter months, and the inability to move as well, as easily around the country,” later adding he remains confident “that Russia will not occupy or defend Ukraine as they intended from the beginning.”

› Subscribe


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

More Articles