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Russia-Ukraine crisis: Talks yield no breakthrough as Russians close in

Britain calls for countries to provide more military support to Ukraine



Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

By Team KT

Published: Mon 28 Feb 2022, 6:55 AM

Last updated: Tue 1 Mar 2022, 8:06 AM

European nations and Canada moved on Sunday to shut their airspace to Russian aircraft, an unprecedented step aimed at pressuring President Vladimir Putin to end his aggression of Ukraine, the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

As missiles fell on Ukrainian cities, nearly 400,000 civilians, mainly women and children, have fled into neighbouring countries, a U.N. relief agency said. Hundreds were stranded in Kyiv on Sunday waiting for trains to take them west, away from the fighting.

The capital remained in Ukrainian government hands, with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy rallying his people daily despite Russian shelling of civilian infrastructure.

Follow the latest updates here:


2.14am: Trudeau announces Canada ban on Russian oil imports

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday a ban on Russian oil imports, saying “oil revenues have helped to prop up President Vladimir Putin and Russian oligarchs and wage war against Ukraine”.

He said Ottawa would also be supplying Ukraine with anti-tank weapons and ammunition, in addition to three previous arms shipments.

“Our message is clear. This unnecessary war must stop now. The costs will only grow steeper. And those responsible will be held accountable.”


12.20am: ICC prosecutor to proceed with investigation into alleged war crimes

The office of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday said it will seek court approval to open an investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Prosecutor Karim Khan on Friday expressed his concern over the Russian invasion and said the court may investigate alleged crimes arising from the current situation.

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


12.10am: 12 Russian UN diplomats ordered expelled from US: Russian ambassador

Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya addresses the emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly. — AP
Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya addresses the emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly. — AP

Twelve members of Russia’s diplomatic mission to the UN have been ordered to leave the United States by the end of March, Russia’s ambassador to the world body said Monday.

Vassily Nebenzia told reporters at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York that he had just learned of the expulsion.

AFP was not immediately able to confirm the order independently and a spokesperson for the US State Department said he had no comment.


11:36pm: Turkey blocks warships from Bosphorus, Dardanelles

Russian Navy's Project 22160 Patrol Vessel Dmitriy Rogachev 375 sails through the Bosphorus Strait on the way to the Black Sea past the city Istanbul as Suleymaniye mosque is seen in the backround on February 16, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
Russian Navy's Project 22160 Patrol Vessel Dmitriy Rogachev 375 sails through the Bosphorus Strait on the way to the Black Sea past the city Istanbul as Suleymaniye mosque is seen in the backround on February 16, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

Turkey said Monday it was blocking warships from the key Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits in line with a convention that gives it control over the passage of military vessels in the strategic area.

“We have alerted both countries of the region and elsewhere not to pass warships through the Black Sea,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. “We are applying the Montreux Convention.”


11:20pm: Pentagon studying Putin nuclear order

US officials on Monday called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to mobilize his nuclear forces “dangerous” but said they had not seen any indication of any change in the country’s strategic threat.

Officials also said that Russian troops in Ukraine continue to move ahead slowly, hampered by fuel supply issues, and downplayed reports that the Belarus army intended to enter Ukraine as reinforcements for Moscow’s invasion force.

On Sunday, four days after Moscow launched the invasion, Putin announced that he had ordered his military chiefs “to put the deterrence forces of the Russian army into a special mode of combat service.”


11:15pm: Britain calls for countries to provide more military support to Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told leaders of countries including the United States, France and Germany in a call to continue supplying weapons to Ukraine after the former Soviet republic was invaded by Russia, a government spokesperson said.

Johnson was joined on the call with other world leaders and representatives of the European Union and NATO.

“The prime minister stressed the need for countries to continue supporting the Ukrainian government, including with the provision of defensive weapons,” the government spokesperson said.


11:13pm: Ukraine talks yield no breakthrough as Russians close in

The first round of talks aimed at stopping the fighting between Ukraine and Russia ended Monday with no agreement except to keep talking, while an increasingly isolated Moscow ran into unexpectedly fierce resistance on the ground and economic havoc at home.

Five days into Russia’s invasion, the Kremlin again raised the specter of nuclear war, while an embattled Ukraine moved to solidify its ties to the West by applying to join the European Union — a largely symbolic move unlikely to sit well with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has long accused the U.S. of trying to pull Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit.

A top Putin aide and head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, said that the talks lasted nearly five hours and that the envoys “found certain points on which common positions could be foreseen.” He said they agreed to continue the discussions in the coming days.


10:39pm: Putin lays out conditions as shelling continues

This picture shows Russian infantry mobility vehicles GAZ Tigr destroyed as a result of fight in Kharkiv, located some 50 km from Ukrainian-Russian border, on February 28, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
This picture shows Russian infantry mobility vehicles GAZ Tigr destroyed as a result of fight in Kharkiv, located some 50 km from Ukrainian-Russian border, on February 28, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

Russian President Vladmir Putin on Monday levelled conditions on ending Moscow’s offensive against Ukraine as Russian forces shelled the country’s second city in the face of sweeping Western sanctions.

The Russian attacks on Kharkiv killed at least 11 people, Ukrainian officials said. Kyiv says more than 350 civilians, including 14 children, have been killed since the invasion began on Thursday. The United Nations said more than half a million people have fled the country.

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators on Monday met for the first time since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion with Ukraine demanding a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops. The talks ended with both sides agreeing to continue a second-round of negotiations “soon”.

More details here


10:20pm: FIFA, UEFA suspend Russian teams

FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russia's national teams and clubs from international football until further notice due to the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The move makes it likely that Russia will be excluded from this year's World Cup and the women's Euro 2020 tournament.

"FIFA and UEFA have today decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice," UEFA said in a statement.

More details here


9:06pm: Finland to supply arms to Ukraine

Finland has taken the “historic” decision to supply weapons to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of its pro-Western neighbour, the country’s prime minister announced Monday.

"Finland is going to supply military assistance to Ukraine. It is a historic decision for Finland.”


8:47pm: Zelenskyy applies for Ukraine to join the EU

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Ukraine’s president has signed an application for his country to join the European Union, in a bid to solidify his country’s bond with the West.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has posted photos of himself signing the application, and his office says the paperwork is on its way to Brussels, where the 27-nation EU is headquartered.


8:40pm: Moscow, Kyiv plan ‘second round’ of conflict talks

Negotiators from Ukraine and Russia will return to their capital cities for consultations and have plans for fresh talks, both sides announced Monday after meeting for their first talks since the outbreak of war last week.

“The delegations are returning to their capitals for consultations and have discussed the possibility of meeting for a second round of negotiations soon,” Ukrainian negotiator Mikhailo Podolyak said.

“We agreed to keep the negotiations going,” the Russian delegation head, Vladimir Medinsky said.


8: 35pm: Moscow hits back by barring EU and Canadian airlines

Airlines on Monday braced for a potentially lengthy dispute after the European Union (EU) banned Russian airlines from its airspace and Moscow responded in kind, barring carriers from 36 countries including all 27 members of the European Union.

Dozens of flights were cancelled or sent on costly detours as the crisis hit airline shares.

More details here.


7:25pm: Russian shelling kills 11 in Ukraine’s second city

Russian shelling killed at least 11 civilians in Ukraine’s second most populated city Kharkiv on Monday, the regional governor said, adding that dozens more were wounded.

The shelling comes on the fifth day of a Russian invasion of Ukraine and one day after Ukrainian troops repelled an attack on Kharkiv by Moscow’s army.

“The Russian enemy is bombing residential areas of Kharkiv, where there is no critical infrastructure, where there are no positions of the armed forces,” Oleg Sinegubov, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

More details here


7:19pm: US, Canada ban transactions with Russian central bank

The United States and Canada on Monday banned all transactions with Russia’s central bank, effective immediately, in an unprecedented sanction meant to punish the country for its invasion of Ukraine.

Transactions to support the ruble, “will no longer be possible and fortress Russia will be exposed,” a senior US administration official told reporters.

Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the ban is meant “to ensure that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be a strategic failure.”

“Canada is firmly on the side of the heroic resistance of the people of Ukraine and we will continue to take further action to ensure President Putin does not succeed”


5:47pm: EU plans to grant Ukrainians right to stay for up to 3 years

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

The European Union is preparing to grant Ukrainians who flee the war the right to stay and work in the 27-nation bloc for up to three years, senior European officials said on Monday, adding that EU border states would get help to cope with the arrivals.

At least 400,000 Ukrainian refugees have entered the EU so far, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said. EU members Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary have land borders with Ukraine.

Johansson said she was hoping EU interior ministers would agree as early as Thursday on a protection scheme for those fleeing Ukraine.

“We have to prepare for millions (to arrive in the EU)”


5:42pm: France preparing to seize Russian assets

France is getting ready to seize all assets of Russian officials and business leaders who are being targeted by EU sanctions.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said they are in the process of listing property including financial assets, real estate, yachts and luxury cars.

Authorities are also seeking to identify other Russian individuals who could be added into the EU list of people targeted by sanctions due to “their proximity with the Russian leadership,” he added.

“We will get legal means to seize all these assets”


5:22pm: Russia closes its airspace to 36 nations

Russia has closed its airspace to carriers from 36 nations, including European countries and Canada, responding in kind to their move to close their respective airspaces to all Russian aircraft.

The move, announced Monday by the state aviation agency, follows a decision by the EU and Canada over the weekend to close their skies to the Russian planes in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

It added that planes from those countries could only enter Russia’s airspace with special permission.


5:13pm: Luxembourg to send anti-tank weapons, jeeps

Servicemen of the Ukrainian Military Forces walk in the center of Kyiv on February 28, 2022.  (Photo: AFP)
Servicemen of the Ukrainian Military Forces walk in the center of Kyiv on February 28, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

Luxembourg will send 100 NLAW anti-tank weapons, jeeps and 15 military tents to Ukraine, Defence Minister Francois Bausch said in a statement on Monday.

On top of this, Luxembourg is offering allied countries transport capacities on board of its A400M military transport plane and chartered aircraft, Bausch added.

The European Union agreed on Sunday, for the first time in its history, to fund weapons for Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russia’s attack.


5:11pm: Russia’s Lavrov cancels Geneva trip

Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov has cancelled a trip to Geneva for disarmament talks because his plane would not be able to pass through airspace that the European Union has closed to Russian aviation as part of sanctions against Moscow, RIA news agency quoted a diplomatic source as saying on Monday.


5pm: UK joins new sanctions on major Russian bank

Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Monday announced new sanctions against the Central Bank of Russian Federation (CBR) that include immediate steps to prohibit any UK natural or legal persons from undertaking financial transactions involving the CBR, the Russian National Wealth Fund, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.

The latest sanction is intended to prevent the CBR from deploying its foreign reserves in ways that undermine the impact of sanctions imposed by the UK and its allies, and to undercut its ability to engage in foreign exchange transactions to support the Russian rouble.

More details here


4:21pm: Ukraine slows Russian advance

Outgunned but determined Ukrainian troops slowed Russia’s advance and held onto the capital and other key cities — at least for now. In the face of stiff resistance and devastating sanctions, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear forces put on high alert, threatening to elevate the war to a terrifying new level.

Explosions and gunfire that have disrupted life since the invasion began last week appeared to subside around Kyiv overnight, as Ukrainian and Russian delegations met Monday on Ukraine’s border with Belarus. It’s unclear what, if anything, those talks would yield.

More details here


4:18pm: Ceasefire talks begin four days after Russian attack

Talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials began on the Belarusian border on Monday, as Russia faced deepening economic isolation four days after invading Ukraine in the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two.

Talks began with the aim of an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces, the Ukrainian president’s office said, after a Russian advance that has gone more slowly than some expected.

Russia has been cagier about the talks, with the Kremlin declining to comment on Moscow’s aim.


4pm: Ukraine crisis: 'We stand by you', leading writers say

A view of the cars which were destroyed by recent shelling in Kyiv outskirts on February 28, 2022.  (Photo: AFP)
A view of the cars which were destroyed by recent shelling in Kyiv outskirts on February 28, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

More than 1,000 writers from around the world, including Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, have expressed solidarity for the people of Ukraine enduring “their darkest hours”.

In a letter organised by the campaign group PEN International, and sent also in Ukrainian and Russian, the authors demanded Russian President Vladimir Putin end the crisis in Ukraine.

Read more here


3:14pm: More than half a million have fled Ukraine

The head of the United Nations refugee agency says more than a half a million people had fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion on Thursday.

Filippo Grandi of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees conveyed the latest update in a tweet Monday, saying more than 500,000 people had fled to neighboring countries.


2.30: Talks between Ukraine and Russia have started, says Ukraine presidential advisor

Talks between Ukraine and Russia have started at the Belarussian border, Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters via text message on Monday.

Earlier the Ukrainian president’s office said Ukraine’s goal for the talks was an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (File)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (File)

2.10pm: EU plans to grant Ukrainians right to stay for up to 3 years

The European Union is preparing to grant Ukrainians who flee the crisis the right to stay and work in the 27-nation bloc for up to three years, senior EU and French officials said.

"It is our duty to take in those who flee war," French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told France 2 TV on Monday, saying EU interior minister had on Sunday tasked the European Commission with preparing draft proposals to grant them protection.


12.53pm: Ukraine delegation arrives at border for talks with Russia, says presidency

An Ukrainian child looks through the window of a car stuck in traffic, as her family drives towards the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing between Ukraine and Poland while fleeing the conflict in their country, near the Ukrainian village of Tvirzha, some 20km from the border, on February 28, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
An Ukrainian child looks through the window of a car stuck in traffic, as her family drives towards the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing between Ukraine and Poland while fleeing the conflict in their country, near the Ukrainian village of Tvirzha, some 20km from the border, on February 28, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

A Ukrainian delegation has arrived at the border with Belarus for talks on Monday with Russian representatives that will focus on achieving an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces, the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement.

The delegation includes Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak among others, it said.

12.05pm: Russian army says civilians can ‘freely’ leave Kyiv

AFP
AFP

The Russian army said Monday that Ukrainian civilians could “freely” leave the country’s capital Kyiv and stressed it had air superiority over Ukraine as the crisis went into its fifth day.

“All civilians in the city can freely leave the Ukrainian capital along the Kyiv-Vasylkiv highway. This direction is open and safe,” Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in televised remarks.

11.45am: 'I don't think Putin wants to use nuclear weapons'

British defence minister Ben Wallace said on Monday that he does not expect Russian President Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons in his pursuit of Ukraine, days after the former Soviet republic attacked its neighbour.

"Fundamentally a deterrent is what it is, a deterrent," Wallace told Times Radio

"As much as he might be ambitious for Ukraine, I don't think he wants to go into that space."


11.00am: Vatican ready to ‘facilitate dialogue’ between Russia and Ukraine

The Vatican is ready to “facilitate dialogue” between Russia and Ukraine to end the war, its top diplomat said on Monday.

Reuters
Reuters

Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin told Italian newspapers that “despite the war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine” he was “convinced there is always room for negotiations”.

10.00am: Modi deputes four ministers to coordinate evacuations, sources

Government Sources on Monday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be sending four Union Ministers to neighbouring countries of Ukraine to coordinate evacuations of stranded Indians amid ongoing Russian military operations in Ukraine.

“Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju and Gen (Retd) VK Singh will travel to neighbouring countries of Ukraine to coordinate the evacuation mission and help students,” government sources said.

These ministers will be going as special envoys of India.

9.15am: Meta says military, politicians targeted in hacking campaign

Reuters file
Reuters file

Meta Platforms said a hacking group used Facebook to target a handful of public figures in Ukraine, including prominent military officials, politicians and a journalist, amid the crisis.

Meta said in the last 48 hours it had also separately removed a network of about 40 fake accounts, groups and pages across Facebook and Instagram that operated from Russia and Ukraine targeting people in Ukraine, for violating its rules against coordinated inauthentic behavior.


8.15am: Russian central bank scrambles to limit fallout of tough sanctions

Russia's central bank announced a slew of measures on Sunday to support domestic markets, as it scrambled to manage the broadening fallout of harsh Western sanctions over the weekend amid the Ukraine crisis.

The central bank said it would resume buying gold on the domestic market, launch a repurchase auction with no limits and ease restrictions on banks' open foreign currency positions. It also increased the range of securities that can be used as collateral to get loans and ordered market players to reject foreign clients' bids to sell Russian securities.Read full story

The central bank did not reply to a Reuters request for comment.

The steps came after Western allies ratcheted up sanctions on Saturday, taking action to banish big Russian banks from the main global payments system SWIFT and announced other measures to limit Moscow's use of a $630 billion war chest to undermine sanctions.

7.50am: Moscow exchange delays start of trading, shuts fx repo market

The Moscow Exchange will open forex and money market trading at 10:00 Moscow time on Monday, three hours later than the usual opening time for the forex market, and will suspend trading on the forex repo market, the bourse said.

The rouble plunged to an all-time low on Monday, and the dollar soared against nearly all peers after Western nations announced fresh sanctions on Russia.

7.10am: Blasts heard in Ukraine's Kyiv, Kharkiv, says Ukraine govt, military

Blasts were heard in Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and in the major city of Kharkiv on Monday morning, Ukraine's State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection said.

Reuters
Reuters

Kyiv had been quiet for a few hours prior to that, it said in a brief statement on the Telegram messaging app.

In a separate statement, the agency said a residential building in the city of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine was on fire after being struck by a missile.

Another northern Ukrainian city, Zhytomyr, was hit by missiles overnight, Ukrainian Ground Forces command said on Facebook.

6.45am: Europe and Canada move to close skies to Russian planes

European nations and Canada moved on Sunday to shut their airspace to Russian aircraft, an unprecedented step aimed at pressuring President Vladimir Putin to end his invasion of Ukraine, the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

Aeroflot said it would cancel all flights to European destinations after E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the European Union had decided to close its airspace to Russian traffic.

The United States is considering similar action, but has yet to make a final decision, according to U.S. officials. The US government said citizens should consider leaving Russia immediately on commercial flights, citing an increasing number of airlines cancelling flights as countries closed their airspace to Russia.

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