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LIVE Russia-Ukraine crisis: Putin puts nuclear forces on alert

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that a Russian delegation was currently in the Belarusian city of Gomel.



By Team KT

Published: Sun 27 Feb 2022, 8:58 AM

Last updated: Mon 28 Feb 2022, 1:50 PM

Western allies announced sweeping new sanctions against Moscow, as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine's forces were repelling Russian troops advancing on Kyiv.

Russian forces blew up a natural gas pipeline in Ukraine's second city, Kharkiv, while Russian-backed separatists said Ukraine had blown up an oil terminal in the breakaway Luhansk province. Russia continues to supply Europe with gas via Ukraine.

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Ukraine has denied that it was refusing to negotiate a ceasefire with Russia but said it was not ready to accept ultimatums or unacceptable conditions.

Follow the latest updates here:


11.45pm: Danish PM says citizen volunteers can join Ukraine fight

Denmark will let its nationals join international brigades forming to fight in Ukraine against Russian forces, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Sunday.

“It’s a choice that anyone can make. This goes for all Ukrainians who live here, but also for others who think they can contribute directly to the conflict,” she said in a press conference Sunday.


11.34pm: G7 vows new sanctions if Russia continues Ukraine invasion

Leaders of the G7 group of wealthy nations on Sunday threatened fresh sanctions against Russia if it continues its invasion of Ukraine.

Calling for an end to the Russian operation, the joint statement from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States warned that failing that, the group would “take further steps” to add to the sanctions already announced.


11.22pm: Russian military gains in Ukraine will not be recognised: G7

Russian military gains in Ukraine achieved through its ongoing campaign will not be recognised, foreign ministers from the G7 club of wealthy nations said in a joint statement on Sunday.

“Ministers underlined that any change of status achieved by the Russian act of aggression will not be recognised. Ministers agreed to coordinate closely to ensure a broad and strong international condemnation of Russia’s unjustifiable behaviour,” the statement said.


11.12pm: Belgium to send machine guns and grenade launches to help Ukraine, Zelenskiy says

Ukraine will receive 3,000 machine guns and 200 anti-tank grenade launchers from Belgium, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a tweet on Sunday.

Ukraine has called on Western allies for weaponry and financial support as it fights to repel a large-scale Russian invasion.


11.01pm: Denmark says will let volunteers join foreign brigade in Ukraine


10.36pm: Ukraine agrees to meet with Russian delegation in Belarus

Amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Kyiv has agreed to meet with a Russian delegation in Belarus as the Western powers have imposed additional sanctions on Moscow as the military operations by Russian President Vladimir Putin entered the fourth day.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council will convene Sunday at 3 pm (local time) to vote on a resolution calling for a special session of the General Assembly.


10.24pm: Sweden to send arms to Ukraine in break with tradition

Sweden on Sunday announced it would break its doctrine of not sending arms to countries in active conflict and send military equipment, including anti-tank launchers, to Ukraine.

“My conclusion is now that our security is best served by us supporting Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russia,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told reporters.

Andersson said 5,000 anti-tank weapons of the model “Pansarskott 86”, a single-use anti-tank launcher known internationally as Bofors AT-4, would be sent to Ukraine.


9.50pm: Russia war on Ukraine has displaced ‘over 7 million people’

Russia’s war on Ukraine has displaced “over seven million people”, the EU commissioner for crisis management said Sunday.

“We are witnessing what could become the largest humanitarian crisis on our European continent in many, many years,” Janez Lenarcic told a media conference after a meeting of EU interior ministers focused on the refugee flow out of Ukraine.


9.25pm: Ukrainian official says missiles launched from Belarus to Ukraine

Missiles launched from Belarus had hit an airport in Zhytomyr in northern Ukraine on Sunday, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister said.

Ukrainian and Russian officials are due to meet for talks at a venue on the Belarusian border with Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's office said earlier.

Anton Herashchenko, the adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, had earlier said that Iskander missiles were launched at Ukraine from Belarus at around 5 p.m. local time


9.04pm: Canada closes airspace to Russian carriers as Ukraine crisis enters its fourth day

Amid the rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Canada has closed its airspace to Russian aircraft operators effective immediately, says Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.

Alghabra made the announcement of closing the airspace to Russian aircraft in a tweet on Sunday. It comes at a time when several other European countries have also made similar announcements.


8.41pm: EU bloc will close its airspace to Russian airlines, fund arms supplies to Ukraine, ban pro-Kremlin media

The European Union’s chief executive says the 27-nation bloc will close its airspace to Russian airlines, fund supplies of weapons to Ukraine and ban some pro-Kremlin media outlets in response to Russia’s invasion.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday that “for the first time ever, the European Union will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack.”


8.21pm: International Atomic Energy Agency calls extraordinary meeting to discuss Ukraine

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Sunday that it was calling an extraordinary meeting of its board of governors next week “to discuss the current situation in Ukraine”.

The meeting will begin at 11 am (1000 GMT) on Wednesday at the IAEA’s Vienna headquarters, the agency said in a statement.

It said Director General Rafael Grossi “is actively in contact with all involved to ensure the safety and security of nuclear facilities and material in Ukraine”.


8.10pm: In major shift for Europe, Germany to spend $113B on defense

In one of the most significant shifts in European security policy in decades, Germany announced Sunday it was committing 100 billion euros ($113 billion) to a special armed forces fund and would keep its defense spending above 2% of GDP from now on, a move brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The German policy shift also came as Italy, France, Austria, Malta, Canada and Belgium joined other EU countries in closing their airspace to Russian aircraft, carving up the skies over Europe.


7.56pm: US announces additional aid of $54 million to Ukraine

The United States is providing additional humanitarian assistance to Ukraine of $54 million, said the US State Department in its press release on Sunday.

“The United States, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Department of State, is providing nearly USD 54 million in additional humanitarian assistance to Ukraine following Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified further invasion of Ukraine, which is expected to trigger increased needs,” said the press release.

This funding includes nearly $26 million from the Department of State and $28 million from the US Agency for International Development.


7.17pm: Western allies must ‘stand together’ against Russia: NATO chief

The United States and Europe must “really stand together” in response to Russia’s military aggression and “threatening rhetoric”, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Sunday, adding the alliance “does not want war”.

“NATO does not want war with Russia, we don’t seek confrontation,” he told BBC World.

“We are (a) defensive alliance, but we need to make sure that there’s no room for misunderstanding, miscalculation about our ability to defend and protect allies.”


7.05pm: Ukraine will not ‘capitulate’ at Russia talks, says FM Lavrov

Ukraine’s foreign minister said Sunday that Kyiv would not buckle at talks with Russia over its invasion, accusing President Vladimir Putin of seeking to increase “pressure” by ordering his nuclear forces on high alert.

“We will not surrender, we will not capitulate, we will not give up a single inch of our territory,” Dmytro Kuleba said at a press conference broadcast online.


6.46pm: White House accuses Putin of 'manufacturing threats'

The United States charged Sunday that President Vladimir Putin is “manufacturing threats” as he placed Russian nuclear deterrence forces on high alert amid the Ukraine crisis.

“This is a pattern that we’ve seen from President Putin through the course of this conflict, which is manufacturing threats that don’t exist in order to justify further aggression."


6.40pm: Ukrainians return from abroad to fight Russian attacks

While hundreds of thousands of refugees are leaving Ukraine amid Russia’s attack on the country, some Ukrainian men and women are returning home from across Europe to help defend their homeland.

Poland’s Border Guard said Sunday that some 22,000 people have crossed into Ukraine since Thursday, when Russia invaded the country.

At the checkpoint in Medyka, in southeastern Poland, many were standing in a line early Sunday to cross into Ukraine.


5.45pm: Ukraine agrees to hold talks with Russia at Belarus border

AFP
AFP

Ukraine on Sunday said it would hold talks with Russia at its border with Belarus — near the Chernobyl exclusion zone — after a phone call between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

“The politicians agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet the Russian one without preconditions at the Ukraine-Belarus border, near the Pripyat River,” Zelensky’s office said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that a Russian delegation was currently in the Belarusian city of Gomel.

More details here


5.36pm: US announces $54 million in humanitarian aid for Ukraine

The United States said Sunday it is sending nearly $54 million in new humanitarian aid to Ukraine as it grapples with the Russian invasion.

This assistance includes “provision of food, safe drinking water, shelter, emergency health care, winterization, and protection,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.


5.22pm: Putin orders ‘deterrence forces’ on high alert

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday ordered his defence chiefs to put the country’s “deterrence forces” on high alert as he accused Western countries of taking “unfriendly” steps against his country amid Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine.

“I order the defence minister and the chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces to put the deterrence forces of the Russian army into a special mode of combat service,” Putin said in a televised address.


5.01pm: Indians trying to flee Ukraine stuck at border

AFP
AFP

While countries like Poland and Hungary have welcomed fleeing Ukrainians, some foreign citizens seeking to leave Ukraine have reported difficulties at the Polish border.

An Indian volunteer in Poland said Sunday some Indian citizens seeking to flee Ukraine into Poland are stuck at the border leading into Medyka, Poland, and unable to cross.


4.37: Israel has offered to mediate peace

The Kremlin says Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has offered to help broker an end to fighting in Ukraine.

The Kremlin said Bennett told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a call on Sunday that Israel is ready to play mediator. It didn’t say whether the Russian leader accepted the offer.

More details here


4.29pm: Putin accuses Ukraine of wasting ‘opportunity’ for talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday accused Ukrainian authorities of wasting “an opportunity” to hold talks after Moscow’s invasion of its pro-Western neighbour.

The Kremlin said that Putin had briefed Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett about “the course of a special military operation to protect Donbas.”

During the call, he “also noted that the Russian delegation is in the Belarus city of Gomel and is ready for negotiations with representatives of Kyiv, who, showing inconsistency, have not yet taken advantage of this opportunity”.

More details here


4.20pm: Japan joining measures to cut Russian banks from SWIFT

Japan will join Western nations in removing selected Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system, the country’s prime minister said Sunday, piling further pressure on Moscow over its attacks against Ukraine.

“In what was released this morning by the Western nations, steps are taken to isolate Russia from the international financial system and the world economy including exclusion of specific Russian banks from SWIFT. Western nations have requested Japan participate. Japan will join this initiative."


4.17pm: Ukraine’s Zelensky says spoke to Belarus leader

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday he had spoken by phone with Belarus strongman and Kremlin ally Alexander Lukashenko, as Russia pressed on with its attacks against the pro-Western country.

“I’ve spoken with Alexander Lukashenko,” Zelensky said on Facebook, without providing further details. Russia’s attacks against Ukraine was partly launched from Belarus soil.


4.11pm: Ukraine army secures Kharkiv, expelling Russian troops

AFP
AFP

Ukrainian forces had secured full control of Kharkiv on Sunday following street fighting with Russian troops in the country’s second-biggest city, the local governor said.

“Kharkiv is fully under our control,” the head of the regional administration, Oleg Sinegubov, said on Telegram, adding that the army was expelling Russian forces during a “clean-up” operation.


4pm: Pope calls for ‘urgent’ opening of humanitarian corridors from Ukraine

“I am thinking of the elderly, of all those at the moment seeking refuge, of mothers fleeing with their children. They are brothers and sisters for whom it is urgent to open up humanitarian corridors and who must be welcomed."


3.37pm: Ukraine map locates areas where strikes, fighting reported


3.25pm: Ukrainian refugee tally tops 368,000

The UN refugee agency said Sunday more than 368,000 people had fled Ukraine since Russia invaded on Thursday.

“The current total is now 368,000 and continues to rise,” United Nations High Commission for Refugees or UNHCR said in a tweet, adding the new figure was based on “data made available by national authorities”.

More details here


3.16pm: Ukraine takes Russia to international court

Ukraine has lodged a complaint against Russia at the International Court of Justice in the Hague to get it to halt its attacks, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday.

More details here


2.57pm: Belgium closes airspace to Russian airlines

Belgium is joining a growing list of countries closing their airspace to Russian airlines as the West ramps up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin for ordering attacks against Ukraine.

Belgian Prime Minster Alexander De Croo tweeted Sunday that the country “has decided to close its airspace to all Russian airlines.”


2.54pm: Russia market crash show 'sanctions are working’

“Already in the last week, the Russian stock markets sank by more than 30 percent. That shows: our sanctions are working. And we reserve the right to impose further sanctions."


2.16pm: Ukraine calls for Russia to lose UN Security Council seat

Ukraine’s president says Russia should be thrown out of the United Nations Security Council following its attacks on his country.

Russia is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, giving it veto power over resolutions.


2.11pm: Greece to send Ukraine ‘defence equipment’, aid

Greece is to send Ukraine “defence equipment” and humanitarian aid, the prime minister’s office said Sunday, after Athens accused Russia of killing 10 ethnic Greeks during its attacks against Ukraine.

Two military transport planes were to depart for Poland on Sunday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ office said in a statement, without adding further details about what equipment they would be carrying.


1.33pm: Ukraine conflict could last ‘number of years’

“I fear this will be a long haul, this could be a number of years. Russia have strong forces and we know the Ukrainians are brave, they are determined to stand up for their sovereignty and territorial integrity and they are determined to fight."


1.25pm: Zelensky hails international aid from allies

President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday hailed the assistance Ukraine was receiving from its international allies as Russia’s invading forces pressed on with an assault.

“This is already real. We are receiving weapons, medicine, food, diesel, and money,” Zelensky said in a video address. “A powerful coalition in support of Ukraine has been formed — an anti-war coalition.”


12.53pm: Belarus leader urges Kyiv to accept Russian offer of talks

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko called on Kyiv on Sunday to sit down and hold talks with Russia so that Ukraine does not lose its statehood, Russia's RIA news agency reported.

Russia said on Sunday its delegation was ready to meet Ukrainian counterparts in the Belarusian city of Gomel, but Kyiv said Belarus was complicit in the Russian attacks and could not be regarded as a neutral intermediary.


12.38pm: Zelensky says Russia striking residential areas in Ukraine

AFP
AFP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday that Moscow was bombarding residential areas in Ukraine as its invading forces sought to push deeper into the pro-Western country.

“The past night in Ukraine was brutal, again shooting, again bombardments of residential areas, civilian infrastructure,” Zelensky said in an address posted online.

“Today, there is not a single thing in the country that the occupiers do not consider an acceptable target. They fight against everyone. They fight against all living things — against kindergartens, against residential buildings and even against ambulances.”


11.56am: Dr Anwar Gargash says political solutions needed

More details here


11.54am: Putin hails ‘heroism’ of Russian special forces in Ukraine

“Special gratitude to those who these days are heroically fulfilling their military duty in the course of a special operation to provide assistance to the people’s republics of Donbas."


11.52am: Ukraine says ready for talks but not in Belarus

Ukraine’s president says his country is ready for peace talks with Russia but not in Belarus, which was a staging ground for Moscow’s 3-day-old attacks.

Speaking in a video message Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy named Warsaw, Bratislava, Istanbul, Budapest or Baku as alternative venues. He said other locations are also possible but made clear that Ukraine doesn’t accept Russia’s selection of Belarus.

More details here


11.30am: Kremlin says ready for talks with Ukraine in Belarus

The Kremlin says a Russian delegation has arrived in the Belarusian city of Homel for talks with Ukrainian officials.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the delegation includes military officials and diplomats. “The Russian delegation is ready for talks, and we are now waiting for the Ukrainians,” Peskov said.

More details here


10.58am: Zelensky vows to keep fighting

“We will fight for as long as needed to liberate our country."


10.30am: Russia claims to have besieged two big Ukrainian cities

Moscow claimed Sunday its troops had “entirely” besieged the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson and the city of Berdyansk in the southeast, as the Russian army pressed ahead with attacks against the pro-Western country.

“Over the past 24 hours, the cities of Kherson and Berdyansk have been completely blocked by the Russian armed forces,” defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

More details here


10.20am: Musk’s Starlink internet ‘active’ in Ukraine

Elon Musk’s latest outburst puts Tesla board on the spot
Elon Musk’s latest outburst puts Tesla board on the spot

Elon Musk says his SpaceX company’s Starlink satellite internet service is now “active” in Ukraine.

The tech billionaire made the announcement on Twitter in response to a tweet by Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation saying that while Musk tries to “colonize Mars,” Russia is trying to occupy Ukraine. The minister called on Musk to provide his country with Starlink stations.

In his response Saturday, Musk said: “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.”


9.45am: Ukrainian oil, gas facilities burn

Russian forces have attacked oil and gas facilities in Ukraine, sparking huge explosions, officials said on Sunday.

Ukrainian forces were holding off Russian troops advancing on the capital, Kyiv, said President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two entered its fourth day.

Russian missiles found their mark, including a strike that set an oil terminal ablaze in Vasylkiv, southwest of Kyiv, the town's mayor said. Blasts sent huge flames and billowing black smoke into the night sky, online posts showed.


8.45am: Google blocks Russian channels from earning ad dollars

Alphabet Inc's Google barred on Saturday Russia's state-owned media outlet RT and other channels from receiving money for ads on their websites, apps and YouTube videos, similar to a move by Facebook after the attacks against Ukraine.

Citing "extraordinary circumstances," Google's YouTube unit said it was "pausing a number of channels’ ability to monetize on YouTube." These included several Russian channels affiliated with recent sanctions, such as those by the European Union.


7.20am: SWIFT preparing to comply with curbs on Russian banks

The SWIFT international payments system said on Saturday it was preparing to implement Western nations' new measures targeting certain Russian banks in coming days.



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